I got 23 out of 30 from this essay in my AQA English mock. Enjoy!
Macbeth by William Shakespeare, set in the Jacobean era during the 1600s, introduces the play with a warrior hero who consists of typical, conventional characteristic such as being valiant and tenacious. He however collides with a fatal death based on the aftermath of personal decisions influenced by various negative themes such as ambition and manipulation. Ambition can be described as the driving force or the boost of energy that makes a person want something so eagerly for both good and bad reasons depending on what it is.
Lady Macbeth unravels several mixed emotions on receiving a letter from her alternative other, Macbeth. We can see the delight and happiness that she confides in when she gets the image of herself taking on the throne but on the other hand she also strongly knows that Macbeth will be very hesitant towards the idea of taking any action against committing regicide even though he was the one to boost the idea of filling Duncan to Lady Macbeth. She describes him as being ‘full of the milk of human kindness’, showing the mental barriers in Macbeth’s ‘construction of mind’ and his much more cowardly side although it can be considered quite ironic how Macbeth is easily able to kill his enemies during battle without any sign of regret but now he can’t kill just this one person. The word ‘milk’ may symbolise the concept of purity and the image of a new born baby further displaying Macbeth’s side of innocence. When Lady Macbeth reads the soliloquy she presents a more contrasting personality not only to the audience unconsciously but also to her husband Macbeth. This is when ambition kicks in by bringing out her more masculine and evil side. Furthermore characterisation enhances how a character’s background does not just define that person but also the influences in their surroundings that alter that change so we witness Lady Macbeth from possessing a gentle nature to then transforming into a ambitious and determined young female. In the 16th century, the audience in the past would title Lady Macbeth as a women with dark intentions who uses her feminine sexuality to have authority over others and it could be argued that nowadays people still think that.
Looking at the play as a whole, we see a flow of ambition from Lady Macbeth throughout and the consequences that come along with it. We can make out that ambition in this context is considered to act as a big flaw. Further into the play we can notice how ambition spreads from Lady Macbeth and rubs onto Macbeth since there is a significant change in character almost like the turning point of the play which ultimately leads to his death and downfall as well as Lady Macbeth’s death. This is because the theme of ambitions gets rid of Macbeth’s hesitancy and guilt as he eventually and successfully kills Kind Duncan. There are different factors that build up the disease of ambition such as the witches who may have used spells and witchcraft to bewitch and control Macbeth into partaking into both murder and treason or that Lady Macbeth herself could have been bewitched and is being used as this pawn to physically and mentally change his mindset and consciousness. The scene of killing the king may refer to the phrase ‘spirits in thine ear’, as another one of Shakespeare’s play called Hamlet also reenacts to this similar scene where King Hamlet is poisoned through it entering his ear so we can see links between Shakespeare’s work. This could also hint out glimpses creating some dramatic tension as scenes progress.
Near towards the end of the play it is without doubt that ambition has played a remarkably huge role as well as the main characters themselves in creating multiple twists and bringing about a more gothic genre and atmosphere. It essentially impacts onto the traditional conventions of a hero and heroine as we encounter the image and qualities of a hero being brave, good and noble but that moral tradition has been destroyed by the implantation of ambition tarnishing Macbeth’s and Lady Macbeth’s reputation. Overall ambition has made both of the main characters be blinded by their sense of greed. We can say that even though ambition is an abstract thing it can certainly cause physical damages in reality. As a modern reader we would not conceive this play as something shocking since our own minds are more developed than theirs and also our society nowadays consists of a lot of murder, crime and betrayal so we do not take this heart.