Ambition and power come together hand by hand. A good example of this is the tragic play “Macbeth”, written by the best playwright of all: William Shakespeare. Even though Shakespeare lived in the 15th century, his play is situated in the 11th century and it is a historical event that took place in Scotland. In the tragic play “Macbeth”, Shakespeare, uses 3 central elements that influence in the personalities that people of the 11th century had and that is very different from the one we, 20th century people have, evil, ambition and power.
Macbeth, the central character of the play, is a good person, but his personality gives a 90 degrees turn throughout the story. Evil is the worst thing on Earth. It affects everyone. In this drama, evil is represented in the figure of three human beings: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and the 3 witches. The number three in the play is a very good clue. Cause it represents the holly threesome that is the father, the son and the holly spirit; and throughout the play we see the number 3 constantly. In order to commit evil, Macbeth gains bravery by two forces that act over him and that are evil: Lady Macbeth and the witches. If Macbeth had met the witches, he would have never committed evil.
A very good example of the manifestation of the power of evil on the play, is the sudden breakdown of Macbeth’s personality. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth appears as a hero, he is brave and loyal to his king. Three witches encounter Macbeth and address him as Thane of Cawdor and as the future king.
“First Witch: All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glomis! Second Witch: All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor! Third Witch: All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Act. 1, Sc. 3 pg. 17) they also tell his friend Banquo that he will not be king that his descendants will rule.
The witches disappear leaving Macbeth pleading for more information. Two messengers from the king arrive and tell Macbeth that he is now Thane of Cawdor. This is the start of the changing in the personality of Macbeth because he contemplates to himself on his ambition to be king, which has been strengthened by these events.
Macbeth is afraid of killing king Duncan, he is afraid about “the even handed justice” (Shakespeare’s, Macbeth. Act. 1, Sc. 7, pg. 39) that says that if he kills the king, another person may kill him; but ambition is grater that decency and he commits the murder. Ambition can ruin a person’s life and we can see this on this tragic play.
Macbeth doesn’t want to commit the murder, but his wife, Lady Macbeth, encourages him by saying that he made a promise.
“Lady Macbeth: What beast wasn’t, then, that made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man; and to be more than what you where, you would be so much more the man. Nor time nor place did then adhere, and yet you would make both. They have made themselves, and that their fitness now does unmake you. I have given suck, and know how tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me. I would, while it was smiling in my face, he plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I sworn as you have done to this.” (Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Act.1. Sc. 7. Pg. 43).
Macbeth, after hearing these words, proceeds with the plan. By being ambitious, Macbeth kills his governor and he takes away from Scotland a great leader. “Unlike his prototype in Holinshed’s history, Macbeth kills not an ineffective leader but a saint whose benevolent presence blesses Scotland.” (Snyder, Susan. Macbeth. A Modern Perspective. Pg. 197-198).
Power is the best thing that a person, with the characteristics of Macbeth, can have; but since everything that goes up has to go down, Macbeth has to go down. When he is at the highest point that he can reach by being a king he plans the murder of Banquo, because he is afraid of the prediction of the Witches of Banquo’s descendants being the rulers. After he kills him, he starts seeing Banquo’s ghost and start going insane.
Macbeth’s personality changes a lot, from being a loyal and brave man, to a powerful king and at last an insane person. When Malcolm, son of Duncan, wants to kill him, he is informed of Lady Macbeth’s death and looses his mind, and start to be a person that doesn’t distress about life.
At the end of the play he is suffering by the comprehension that his life could have been entirely different. Macbeth is not a monster, but he cannot accept his evil coldly: he suffers for it. I must recall that in the real history of Scotland, Macbeth was not an evil and ambitious person, fighting for power. He just launched a civil war and the people of Scotland where the ones that killed Duncan, but not dramatically, he died just as other figures from history: in battle.
Evil doesn’t have to be of plain fantasy, like on Macbeth. Witches are not as Shakespeare explains them to us. In our days, evil is represented in different forms. Witches do not exist, evil does. People that think that power is the first thing on Earth, tend to be ambitious and by consequence, evil. Evil does no good to anyone, it just rotten a man’s life by changing his personality from a positive way into a negative one.