Human Nature In Macbeth

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Human Nature In Macbeth

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth explores human nature, in particular the ambition of his main character Macbeth. Macbeth makes ill-fated decisions based upon ambitions to become King and retain that position. So throughout the play, Macbeth’s ambition clouds his judgment, which leads to eventual death. Although his fate is inexorable, Macbeth uses his ambition to fuel his evil intentions. This undertaking is the drive that seals Macbeth’s fate.

At the beginning of 1.3 Macbeth’s ambition leads him to hear his fate given to him by the three witches: Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more. By Sinel’s death I know I am Thane of Galmis, But how of Cawdor? The Thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentleman, and to be King Stands not within the prospect of belief, No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence You owe this strange intelligence? Or why Upon this blasted heath you stop our way With such prophetic greeting? Speak, I charge you. (1. 3. 70-78)

Immediately one can see that Macbeth wanted to hear the witches’ prophecies and not that he was forced to hear them. According to Harold Bloom in his book Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human “The witchcraft in Macbeth, though persuasive, cannot alter material events, yet hallucination can and does” (516). Macbeth is shrouded by his own ambitions of becoming King. Macbeth is intrigued that he will become King and astonished that he has another title of a man that he believes is still alive and loyal to King Duncan. Also one can see some foreshadowing in this excerpt because the Thane of Cawdor was a traitorous individual, and by Macbeth gaining that title it only strengthens his misguided ambitions.

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At the end of 1.3. Macbeth already attempts to go against human nature when he questions his own character: If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock against my ribs, Against the use of nature? …(1. 3. 134-137) Here, Macbeth questions his very being by asking if he should against nature, by killing the King of Scotland instead of waiting out the prophecy given to him by the three witches. Human nature is questioned in this excerpt as well because the act of killing, or murder ...

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