Corruption and Ambition in Macbeth Essay examples

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The Power of Corruption and Unbridled Ambition in Macbeth

Very few producers of art can actually let their works claim the appellation 'classic.' For to create a piece of work - literature, art, or poetry, that stands the test of time, that proves the author's premise relevant not just in the period when he created it, but also in the generations that follow, is not an easy task. The works of William Shakespeare (1564-1616) have, more than once, proved worthy of the title 'classic.' Not only does his work hold up, as he wished, a mirror to his own society, but manages to reflect what is going on much later, and indeed, may be relevant well into the next millennium, if civilization continues to peruse Shakespeare's writing. A
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Macbeth is one such character. Driven by ambition, by the faith that "If chance will have me king, why chance may crown me, Without my stir," (Act I Scene III), Macbeth is set, from the very beginning, on the path of doom and downfall. The fall is made more spectacular by the heights from which Shakespeare chooses to push his character. It is for this purpose, remarks A W Verity, that the playwright "whitens the character of Duncan and blackens the character of Macbeth in a corresponding degree, for obvious purposes of contrast: he whitens the character of Banquo for the same purpose, but also from a personal and complimentary motive; and he makes Lady Macbeth less odious.... at least unselfish. "Holinshed's Duncan is a young and incapable king, "too soft and gentle of nature," and altogether dependent on Macbeth and Banquo.... His reign, we are told by historians, was as unfortunate as it was brief. Shakespeare's Duncan, a man of years (we are made to feel), is "every inch a king," a regal, illustrious figure; gracious, indeed, and gentle, yet strong withal and capable...."

Macbeth's behaviour, in complete contrast to that of Duncan, as adapted

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