Food is essential to human beings, but when someone has diabetes, diet becomes the only solution. In our modern society, ambition is usually considered to be a positive word: “…it is a strong or ardent desire of anything considered advantageous, honoring, or creditable” (OED, def.#2). Look around the world, most the people are working hard to fulfill their ambitions: wealth and power. Are the ambitions still something that will give people hope and happiness? No! Ambitions are giving people another kind of “Diabetes,” and it is time to “Diet.”
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Readers can learn more about how ambitions are causing sickness by analyzing one of the most famous William Shakespeare’s tragedies—- Macbeth. By analyzing Shakespeare’s work from the perspective of character, setting, symbolism, and plot, readers can understand how these ambitions destroyed the Macbeths step by step. Although ambition could destroy one’s future, Shakespeare also showed us another tragedy caused by a lack of ambition in Hamlet. Therefore, ambition is just like food, which is important, but one cannot have too much, and for someone who has “Ambition Diabetes” like Macbeths and Claudius, a “Logo Diet” would be a good choice.
One of the big three tragedies from Shakespeare, Macbeth, mainly focuses on describing how Macbeths, who have an “ambition diabetes” disease, go to death. At the beginning of this play, Macbeth was an honorable general; he just came back from tough combat. His “ambition diabetes” start from when three witches said: “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis! / All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! /All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter” (Shakespeare 1.3, line 49-51)!
His response was that: “Stay, your imperfect speakers, tell me more” (Shakespeare 1.3, line 71). His response shows his curiosity for these three witches, and it also reflects his ambition or hope at this time to be the thane of Cawdor and king. This fact is undeniable, as the Academy concluded that the man was affected so greatly that he decided to “seize a throne” (170).
However, it is significant to realize that, in this case, ambitiousness characterizes not only Macbeth but also the witches. When the soldier meets the witches, they start interacting with them in order to meet their goal of changing the lives of the whole kingdom. These characters make the man think that he is able to do everything, but they are the ones who trigger all the following actions. Macbeth becomes a puppet in their hands, and he assists the witches without realizing it. There is a possibility that he would remain an honorable soldier if he did not interact with them and acknowledge that he will turn into a king in the future.
Under this influence, Macbeth becomes the most ambitious man in the play, and this trait of character makes him a murderer. He states: “I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself / And falls on the other” (Shakespeare 1.7, line 26-29). The man kills his kinsman, Duncan, because he wants to be a king but understands that he is suspected of this crime. As a result, he also murders Banquo, with whom he had friendly relationships.
The man also tries to kill his son and then sends people to deal with Macduff, his wife, and his child. In this way, ambitions turned a great soldier into a serial killer and a bloody tyrant, which proves that they are a disease that requires restriction. The lives of many individuals could be saved if Macbeth kept to a “diet.” The main character commits suicide eventually, so it can be said that “diabetes” led to his death. This idea is supported by Langis, who believes that Shakespeare’s characters often act on the basis of their passions, paying little attention to reasoning (45).
One more character who experiences different influences of ambitiousness is Malcolm. Being the son of the king, he is initially expected to follow his path. Thus, when realizing that Macbeth starts ruling England, Malcolm (who was abroad initially) decides to take his kingdom back. His ablations are associated with his duty to be an heir, which makes him act more reasonably.
Malcolm realizes that he is not the best possible king yet, so he tries to ensure that people are willing to follow him: “I am young; but something / You may deserve of him through me, and wisdom / To offer up a weak, innocent lamb / To appease an angry god” (Shakespeare 4.3, line 14-18). Just as a person who realizes that he needs to intake food, Malcolm allows his ambition to become a king to lead him. However, unlike Macbeth, he realizes that it is critical to remain clever in this situation and to use different tricks, being supported by friends. The prince limits his ambition and “keeps to a diet.”
Ambition is familiar to Lady Macbeth as well, as she takes to the husband’s idea to become a king and wants to benefit from his position. When Macbeth reconsiders his idea of killing Duncan, the woman starts questioning his masculinity in order to make him act: “When you durst do it, then you were a man; / And, to be more than what you were, you would / Be so much more the man” (Shakespeare 1.7, line 41-51). Moreover, her ambition goes so far that she becomes willing to act instead of her husband. Lady Macbeth emphasizes that she is able to cope with the man’s job to control Macbeth’s actions and make him follow her plan.
It can be proved, as she states: “Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty” (Shakespeare 1.5, line 30-34). However, the woman goes mad because of her ambitions. She “eats too much” and cannot live with Duncan’s blood on her hands, so she kills herself. Here, blood also appears as a symbol of guilt that tortures people who spill it, which is supported by de Jongh, who mentions that Lady Macbeth disintegrates into sleep-walking gilt (240).
The setting of the play affects the characters’ ambitions as well. Initially, the story shows Macbeth on a gloomy battlefield that influences his state of mind. Darkness symbolizes evil and danger. It puts the whole kingdom in disorder and makes the main character crueler than he really is. Macbeth seems to be a noble soldier who fights for this country in order to ensure the safety of its population. However, the setting makes him evil and ready to kill for his ambitions.
As the environment becomes darker, the man turns out to become more and more dangerous. It is also possible to see that all characters are murdered at night. In this way, this part of a day appears to symbolize death. When the sun goes down, people become vulnerable because darkness hides all crimes and sins. This setting provides characters with an opportunity to act blindly and to fulfill their ambitions by any means. When Macbeth comes to murder his king, he wants stars to hide everything so that he can commit a crime even without seeing his actions. Night affects not only humans but also animals, as Duncan’s horses seemed to “make war with mankind,” as they became aggressive that day (Shakespeare 2.4, line 18).
Castles that can be seen in the play turn out to be deceiving and make it easier for their owners to follow their ambitions. For instance, Macbeth’s castle seems to be peaceful and appealing initially: “This castle hath a pleasant seat. The air / Nimbly and sweetly recommends itself / Unto our gentle senses” (Shakespeare 1.6, line 1-3). However, this building remains cold inside, which can be associated with Macbeth’s behavior, as he is convinced by his wife to kill the king while acting like a noble soldier at the same time. Moreover, Lady Macbeth deceives her husband as she makes him murder Duncan. In this way, castles have the same nature as their owners and are associated with negative actions conducted under the influence of ambition.
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The setting of Birnam Wood makes Macbeth believe that he is invincible and that he should follow this ambition to become a king. The witches mention: “Macbeth shall never be vanquished be until / Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill / Shall come against him” (Shakespeare 4.1, line 93-94). Believing that he is the one who can “impress the forest, bid the tree / Unfix his earth-bound root,” Macbeth becomes even more ambitious, which leads him to destruction (Shakespeare 4.1, line 95-96). Thus, this place makes the main character believe in his own powers to change his life and the life of the whole kingdom.
While the characters of Macbeth face adverse outcomes of their ambitiousness, Hamlet proves that it is required and should not be totally abandoned. The man doubts himself: “How stand I, then, / That have a father killed, a mother stained,… / And let all sleep, while to my shame I see / The imminent death of twenty thousand men… / O, from this time forth / My thoughts be bloody or be nothing worth!” (Shakespeare 4.5, line 57-69). Hamlet parents were murdered and corrupted, and he faces the necessity to revenge for them. Even though he is not looking for fame or power, Hamlet lacks ambition, because it can be treated as “a desire for activity or exertion” (Merriam-Webster).
The lack of it makes him passive, and the character does nothing to fulfill his goal. He spends hours considering whether his inaction is shameful and trying to improve the situation but often loses his revenge focus: “Do not forget. This visitation / Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose” (Shakespeare 3.4, line 126-127). However, the absence of proactiveness makes him a victim of a conspiracy and leads to his death. Payne believes that answering his questions, Hamlet could have an opportunity to alter his faith and act another way (34). Thus, he could have benefited if he had decided to take another path and to revenge for his parents initially.
It can be clouded that ambition is a trait the performance of which should be controlled. The characters of Macbeth were too focused on their desire to obtain the benefits of kingship. They acted cruelly and were ready to kill for this goal even though they did not really have a legal right to be monarchs. In this way, Macbeth and his wife consumed too much ambition, which led to “diabetes” that ended with their death. However, the absence of this food made another Shakespeare’s character, Hamlet, die. The man was not ambitious at all, so he was easy to manipulate. Thus, a healthy diet is required to ensure positive outcomes of ambitiousness.
Merriam-Webster. “Definition of Ambition.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Web.