The Dark Side of Human Nature in Shakespeare Play Macbeth

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About this sample


Words: 1013 |

Pages: 2|

6 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

Words: 1013|Pages: 2|6 min read

Published: Jan 15, 2019

How far are you willing to go to get what you want? One of the themes in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth is greed. How a humble person can turn into a savage and uncontrollable beast just for wanting more. In the play Macbeth, William Shakespeare shows humankind as dark and immoral. Shakespeare displays the negative side of human nature through three of the main characters. Banquo who appears to be noble but he fails to resist to his desires. Secondly, Lady Macbeth reveals ambition that leads her to her own destruction. Lastly, Macbeth becomes showered in greed that leads him to do horrible deeds. Greediness can lead you do things you have never thought of doing.

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Banquo says “My noble partner You greet with present grace and great prediction, of noble having and of royal hope, that he seems rapt withal. To me you speak not. If you can look into the seeds of time, and say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak, then, to me, who neither beg nor fear, Your favors nor your hate” (Act I, iii, 55-62). Banquo, who appears to be a noble man, also displays his greed by wanting to know a great prediction just like Macbeth Banquo reveals his greed by committing the sin of omission. After, Duncan’s death, Banquo talks to himself “As the weird women promised: If there come truth from them/As upon thee, Macbeth, their speeches shine/Why, by the verities on thee made good, /May they be my oracles as well/And set me up in hope?” (Act III, i, 2-10). Banquo does not reveal the secret of the prophecies and his suspicion about Macbeth because he believes that his prophecy will not come true if he exposes this secret information. Even though, Banquo did not act towards his greed, but his greediness of keeping secrets of the prophecies lead him to his own death. A promise between Macbeth and Banquo, stops him from telling their secrets. Macbeth promises to honor him and that makes it even harder for Banquo to reveal the secret. There are some good qualities but also bad qualities in human nature that leads to their downfall.

Shakespeare shows much stronger greed in Lady Macbeth. After hearing about the witches’ prophecies, Lady Macbeth reveals her true ambitions. During Shakespeare time, Shakespeare showed a female character as kind and obedient. However, Macbeth presents a very dark image of a female character that becomes evil in her desires for the future. Lady Macbeth convince her husband to act towards his desire and his fate. As she knows, Macbeth does not have the guts to do it so she manipulates him “Was the hope drunk from this time/Such I account thy love, Art thou afeard/To be the same in thine own act and velour/As thou esteem’st the ornament of life, /And live a coward in thine own esteem, /Letting I dare not wait upon I would, /Like the poor cat I the adage?” (Act I, vii, 35-44). In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth does not only carry out her own role but she also provokes her husband into taking an action to accomplish her desires. Lady Macbeth’s natural humanity is displayed when she is not able to kill Duncan herself because he resembles her father. This shows that she is trying to suppress her human nature and allow her ambition to rule. However, even after reaching her achieved goal, she is discontent throughout the rest of the play. Lady Macbeth expresses her feelings, but not to Macbeth “Noughts had, alls spent. /Where our desire is got without content: /Tis safter to be that which we destroy /Than by destruction, dwell in doubtful joy/why do you keep alone, /Of sorriest fancies your companions making; what’s done is done.” (Act III, ii, 6-14). Even with her dissatisfaction, she keeps her emotion to herself in order to keep her throne. The greed in human nature is so strong that it can overtake morality.

Finally, and the most significantly, Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to act upon his greed, and leave his morals behind. Shakespeare shows Macbeth as evil from the beginning of the play. In his first entrance, he expresses his feelings of the day by saying “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” (Act I, iii, 39). Since Macbeth believes that good is bad and bad is good, his ambition overtakes his morals and standards. Therefore, Shakespeare shows that humans can represent both good and evil. Macbeth reveals his desire of killing King Duncan when he is left alone in his chamber. I have not spur/To prick the sides of my intent, but only/Vaulting ambition, which oerleaps itself/And falls on the other. (Act I, vii, 25-28). Macbeths values are shown through his speech as he expresses hatred for killing Duncan.Lady Macbeth convinces her husband which leads him to act upon his deed. Later, Macbeth kills Banquo because of greediness. Macbeth feels insecure because of Banquo’s prophecies “When first they put the name of king upon me,/And bade them speak to him; then prophet-like/They haild his father to a line of kings:/Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown,/And put a barren scepter in my gripe,/Thence to be when chd with an unlined hand,/No son of mine succeeding. (Act III, i ,62-68). Macbeth betrays his friendship because he believes that he had committed a horrible deed not for his descendants, but for Banquo’s. Even though Banquo had been so kind and loyal to him, Macbeth kills him to prevent Banquo’s son from gaining the crown he has killed for. When once greed overrules humanity, it will continue to control and force them to make harsh decisions.

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Throughout the play, Shakespeare presents a dark side of human nature, with greed and ambition overcoming morality. First, by illustrating Banquo’s greed in order for his kids to inherit the throne. Secondly, Lady Macbeths ambition overtakes her, and instead of supporting her husband, she pushes him to evil. Finally, Macbeth allows his goal and desires to control his life and lead him to a betrayal of Duncan, Banquo, and his own morality.

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The Dark Side of Human Nature in Shakespeare Play Macbeth. (2019, January 15). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 13, 2024, from
“The Dark Side of Human Nature in Shakespeare Play Macbeth.” GradesFixer, 15 Jan. 2019,
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