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Matthew Arnold, Dover Beach

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Describe one theme that is present within Macbeth and explain how this theme is crucial to the play as a whole. Misconceived ambition, betrayal, guilt and violence. These are some themes evident in the tragedy and play 'Macbeth' written by William Shakespeare. These themes are shown by many language features including; diction, metaphors, similes, soliloquy and allusion. He uses these features to add suspense, but also to teach us the great faults in deception, misguided ambition and the effects of this, not only to people, but the surrounding natural world. Shakespeare teaches us to respect, value and cherish life, not to devalue and destroy it for personal gain, as this will also lead to guilt so strong it destroys our lives in an untimely manner whilst suffering the consequences of an irreparable conscience. Guilt and conscience. This is an integral theme in Macbeth; it shows us how even brazen and tough people can completely succumb to guilt, no matter their mindset. ...read more.


This suggests that actions are not so painful on our conscience, it is how they are carried out and for what reasons. This is shown when Macbeth is awarded another title and fame for his bravery in battle, but ironically rewarded with an empty and pitiful kingship for killing Duncan; even his bravery award is ironic; he is gifted a traitors title, another twist the witches enacted. Macbeth is a symbol in this play for failed and misdirected ambition, he attempts to kill Duncan and claim the kingship of Scotland, but in the end is 'happy, but not so happy' which means he ends up a lot worse of than before, and eventually turns out as the real victim that suffered through the guilt and shame of being an unwanted and undeserving king. In this play, Macbeth and his wife are portrayed as sneaky and ambitious people which is shown when Lady Macbeth uses a simile to urge and then later compare Macbeth to 'Look like the innocent flower' 'but be the serpent underneath.' ...read more.


Despite his guilt and conscience, we however must admire his bravery in battle; despite him knowing that he will die, we are reminded how such a fierce and unbeatable warrior was corrupted, but his courage holds firm till the end as he fights even when it is evident that Macduff will slay him. Macbeth is a play that teaches us of the inherent evils present in misguided ambition; we should not further ourselves to other peoples detriment and also think of the consequences in our actions; what may benefit you tomorrow certainly may not the next day, we cannot be short-sighted in everything. Macbeth teaches us that little can be solved with a tyrant as a leader, who rules with violence to get his way. Macbeth shows us the incredible power of our conscience via guilt; being a more approachable and less deceptive person not only gives us trust, it gives us responsibility to keep that trust which helps us mature and easily beats the alternative, a guilty and prickly conscience that reminds us daily of our unforgotten and abhorrent actions. Lastly, Macbeth teaches us to be wary: Power corrupts. ...read more.

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