As one of the shortest plays William Shakespeare has written, Macbeth represents Shakespeare most popular play. Throughout the play, many characters transpire, however the main character remains Macbeth, a laudable man who develops into a man engrossed by his ambition of power. In addition, Banquo, as another important character who develops as a dramatic foil to Macbeth and represents a brave and ambitious individual while he retains his morals unlike Macbeth. Macbeth eventually becomes recklessly ambitious through the pursuit of power. Through the development of the reckless and murderous nature of Macbeth, Shakespeare reveals the impact ambition and its effect while pursuing power. Shakespeare develops this theme through metaphor,
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Moreover, Mary Ann Mcgrail describes “by releasing his ambition, Macbeth is successful in destroying his own conscience” (M. McGrail). Through this analysis, it becomes apparent that Macbeth’s ambitions transform Macbeth into a power-hungry man. Over all, Shakespeare presents the dangers and power of ambition when in the wrong hands. Over the course of the play, Shakespeare uses many ways to portray the Macbeth’s reckless ambition.
In Macbeth, Banquo represents the main foil of Macbeth. While conversing with Macbeth, Banquo discusses that he “dreamt last night of the three weird sisters” (2.1.20). Shakespeare’s use of dramatic foil with Banquo, allows the audience to visualize Macbeth’s inability to admit his thoughts about the prophecies. While Banquo admits to his temptations, Macbeth lies to Banquo to ensure the ambitious plan that he will become king will come true and his need for power possesses him to following the prophecies. Furthermore, due to Banquo’s contrasting morals, Banquo realizes “in the great hand of God I stand and thence against the undivulged pretence I fight of treasonous malice” (2.3.130-132). Through this realization of Macbeth’s horrible actions fueled by ambition, Banquo highlights the contrast to Macbeth, which keeps escalating due to Macbeth’s adamant ambition. By developing Banquo as a foil, Shakespeare provides clearer representation of Macbeth by comparing his misleading actions to Banquo’s truthful actions.