Macbeth Power and Ambition

My dearest partner of greatness. (My dearest…)Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth reads a letter where Macbeth is more openly power-hungry, referring to them both as partners in shared partner
For mine own good, all causes shall give way. (For mine own…)Act 3 Scene 4, conviction that Macbeth will be powerful, and nothing will stand in his way to keep him from the throne
Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck. Till thou applaud the deed. (Be innocent of…)Act 3 Scene 2, Macbeth is starting to assume a position of power and dominance
That is a step that I must fall down, or else o’erleap, for in my way it lies. (That is a step…)Act 1 Scene 4, Macbeth says that promotion is at the expense of others, and someone must lose power for someone else to gain it
To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus. (To be thus…) Act 3 Scene 4 Macbeth insatiable
Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here! And fill me, from crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! (Come, you spirits)humanity – weakness
As cannons over-charged with double cracks. A c o-c w d c.
Too full of the milk of human kindness. T f o t m o h k.
Power is often shown in Macbeth as meaning physical power and strength, frequently seen in scenes of violence and fighting. However, in contrast to physical strength power also exists in the form of mental strength. It is something that the characters desperately hold on to. Power is often shown in Macbeth as meaning physical power and strength, frequently seen in scenes of violence and fighting. However, in contrast to physical strength power also exists in the form of mental strength. It is something that the characters desperately hold on to.
Life’s but a walking shadow. L i b a w s. Macbeth has had an epiphany (a moment of realisation) and suggests that life has no real substance to it – it is simply a shadow. The use of the metaphor depicting life as a “shadow” suggests life is empty and has no meaning – it also has associations with following as if we are simply following someone else’s plan.The use of “walking” implies life is a journey, but not a dynamic, energetic one – walking is not the powerful, physical action seen in earlier acts, nor the dynamic action expected of a King. The sentence structure focuses on the word “but”, meaning only or just. Macbeth is arguing that life is worthless – it is only a shadow.
A poor player/That struts and frets his hour upon the stage. A p p/ T s a f h h u t s.Macbeth understands he is under the control of someone, or something, else. He is simply an actor (“player”) who has his life controlled by the witches, and then he will be forgotten. The image of Macbeth as a ‘poor player’ contrasts the previous image of him as a powerful “cannon” in Act One. Here the alliteration adds to the pitiful nature of his character.The verbs “struts” and “frets” are both weak, indecisive actions – they suggest lack of control and power. The words “struts” and “frets” also alludes to all the lies and schemes that Macbeth employed to secure power. The fact that life is compared to an “hour upon the stage” emphasises how fleeting and insignificant it is. It also foreshadows the death that is to come. Moreover, the word ‘stage’ indicates the superficiality and falsity of life – nothing is real, nothing is meaningful, it is all just a performance. The curtains will be drawn down, and the lights will go out and Macbeth realises in the end all the power he has will amount to nothing.

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