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Macbeth: Ambition, Manipulation, and a Tragic Breakdown

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Submitted By tenbird
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Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays. The theme is about how one’s ambition can lead to their fall if they let it get out of hand. Lady Macbeth is one of the most aggressive and ambitious characters of Shakespeare’s plays. Much of the fame of Macbeth should be credited to her because it was her ruthless and almost man-like nature that set her apart from other women in Shakespeare’s plays. She is a round and dynamic character in this play because she changes and develops as the story’s proceedings unfold and conflicts emerge. Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth gradually changes from being driven nearly entirely by ambition, to being manipulative of her husband to get her ways, and finally to becoming the complete opposite of her once strong-willed self. Lady Macbeth is seen as a woman of ambition in the beginning of Macbeth. Upon her discovery of Macbeth’s prophecies to become king, she immediately started to think about how to fulfill them. As her ambitious and cold nature overcame her conscience, she mapped out the murder of King Duncan with Macbeth. She came off as being very strong in the opening of the play. Shakespeare’s indirect characterization of her makes her unique from other female characters in his works, which is what sets Macbeth apart from the rest. Lady Macbeth has just as much ambition driving her as Macbeth has, if not more. Lynn M. Zott writes that Lady Macbeth’s ambition may be more aimed towards Macbeth’s successes and not solely hers.
“Representing what is generally viewed as a traditional estimation of the character, George William Gerwig (1929) interprets Lady Macbeth as a psychological portrait of unchecked, ‘feminine’ ambition, projected toward the motivation and achievement of her husband.” (Zott)
Her ambition also gets her to think quickly and try to cover up where Macbeth would fault. For instance, when he brought…...

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