“Ruling passions”, passions that an individual has when they are given the opportunity to hold an extraordinary amount of power, will lead to the demise of the individual if the power is abused. Macbeth a play written by Shakesphere is clearly a tragedy.There are many factors which contribute to the degeneration of Macbeth of which three will be discussed. The three points which contribute greatly to Macbeth’s degeneration are the prophecy which was told to him by the witches, how Lady Macbeth influenced and manipulated Macbeth’s judgment, and finally Macbeth’s long time ambition which drove his desire to be king. Macbeth’s growing character degenerates from a noble man to violent individual.
The prophecies that the witches foretold to Macbeth played an immense role in fueling his passion to rule. These prophecies each held true to Macbeth in some way. Initially, the witches address Macbeth as the Thane of Glamis, which is what he is already considered as. This can be considered the first sign the witches know many things about Macbeth. The second prophecy stated that Macbeth would become Thane of Cawdor, which became true as the original Thane had been condemned to death as he was traitor. After being bestowed this title, the final prophecy appealed to Macbeth even more, as it stated that he would become the King of Scotland. Macbeth was confident in these prophecies because one way or another, they assumed that he would be very successful in life. These prophecies can be the ones to blame for igniting the spark inside of Macbeth that would slowly fuel his deep and treacherous ambition to rule. They changed his attitude immediately and from that point on, he was bent on fulfilling his future by committing actions that would lead up to each of these situations to come true.
With this newfound attitude resulting from his passion, Macbeth had wrote a letter to Lady Macbeth explaining to her the events that occurred and the possibility of him becoming the king by committing a very sinful act; killing the current king of Scotland. Under these murderous thoughts, the honourable and innocent side of Macbeth attempted to alert his mind that the actions that he was planning to take are wrong and will only result in negative consequences. Lady Macbeth plays an important role in this play because she provided a scheme which caused Macbeth to assassinate King Duncan. After Macbeth had killed King Duncan, he later regrets on his wrong doing, he feels an immense amount of guilt and sorrow for what he has done but Lady Macbeth on the other hand, proceeded to alter the scene to make it look as if the two guards were responsible for the crime.
She seems to show barely any amount of regret or guilt while doing this, as she knows that with Macbeth being king, she will become the queen. Had Lady Macbeth not been there to convince Macbeth to commit this crime, the story would have taken a very different turn, as Macbeth’s guilty conscience would have possibly stopped him from killing the King. It can be said that Lady Macbeth can be held responsible for also fueling Macbeth’s passions to stick with the prophecies and rule Scotland. Macbeth’s first murder was a trying experience for him, however after the first murder, killing seemed to be the only solution to maintain his reign of the people of Scotland. Therefore, it was Lady Macbeth who introduced the concept of murder to Macbeth.
After all of these events, it is clear that the effect over powering ambition had on Macbeth was a major one. Macbeth’s ambition influenced the cause of his new character. This new character of Macbeth contained greed, violence, and power hunger. Macbeth shows this when he kills King Duncan.The events that continue after the king’s death are as follows: Malcolm and Donalbain (Duncan’s sons) flee Scotland to England and Ireland, Macbeth is crowned king and he orders the death of Banquo, Macbeth becomes a corrupt and vicious tyrant over Scotland, Lady Macbeth becomes insane and commits suicide, and finally, Macbeth dies at the hands of Macduff.
From this chain of events, the ruling passions that Macbeth had reached a point where they took over any bit of innocence and guilt that he may have had over the things that he had done. He felt no remorse when he ordered the death of his close friend Banquo, and he also did not feel any sadness when he had the family of Macduff’s killed. The only time Macbeth had any rational feelings was when he became aware of the death of his wife and even then, he still pushed away those feelings to fight the armies that were approaching his castle. The prophecies betrayed Macbeth; this should have been realized at an earlier time. His passion blurred the fine line between moral and immoral actions that caused his untimely demise.
In conclusion, Macbeth is a tragedy written by Shakespeare in which the ruling passions of an individual reach a point where their rational thoughts are blurred by the goal of attaining success by any means necessary. This can be seen by a series of actions that Macbeth committed under the influence of the prophecies told by the witches, and his own wife. These actions all led to negative consequences with next to no happiness at all in Macbeth’s life.
“Ruling passions”, passions that an individual has when they are given the opportunity to hold an extraordinary amount of power, will lead to the demise of the individual if the power is abused.