Ambition & Guilt: Great Essay Introduction for Macbeth

Do you want to write an essay introduction for Macbeth? This article covers the play’s major themes to help you write a compelling essay.

Macbeth is a tragedy that tells the story of a Scottish nobleman who becomes obsessed with his own ambition to rule. It also showcases the repercussions of the actions he takes to get there.

The themes of Macbeth, which range from ambition to guilt, help to explain why it is regarded as one of Shakespeare’s greatest tragedies. Macbeth’s themes and underlying ideas add layers of significance to this excellent work of literature.

An Overview of the Play “Macbeth”

“Macbeth” is a tragedy by William Shakespeare that shows how the main character, Macbeth, goes from being a war hero to a murderous villain. Beginning as the thane of Glamis, Macbeth progressively advances to the position of King of Scotland.

The higher Macbeth progressed along his path to power, the more corrupt and evil he grew in the process. Macbeth’s character shift drives the whole theme of this play.

How to Write an Essay Introduction for Macbeth

An introduction paragraph is your opportunity to introduce the reader to the play and the main. Some other points to include in your introduction paragraph are the setting, conflict, and protagonist. Make sure you also introduce the protagonist’s main goal and the conflict that is central to the story.

When writing an essay on Macbeth, make the introductory sentence provocative to draw the readers in.

Also, avoid beginning your introduction with a quote, no matter how tempting it may be. If you must quote, consider paraphrasing as an alternative. You’ll get plenty of opportunities to use quotations throughout the essay.

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Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Understanding the Major Themes in Macbeth

Macbeth is a tragedy that dramatizes the psychological effects of unchecked ambition.

Loyalty, guilt, innocence, and fate all center on the notion of ambition and its consequences. The play, Macbeth, has some major themes in the play which are as follows:


Macbeth’s ambition turned out to be his tragic flaw. It lacks morality which ultimately leads to Macbeth’s downfall. Two things fueled his desire. The Three Witches’ prophecy states that not only would he rule Cawdor as thane but also as king. More significantly, the attitude of Macbeth’s wife, who mocks his assertiveness and manliness and actively orchestrates her husband’s deeds.

But Macbeth’s ambition quickly gets out of hand. He believes his authority is in danger to the point where it can only be maintained by killing his perceived enemies. Ambition ultimately leads to the downfall of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. He loses the battle and is beheaded by Macduff, while Lady Macbeth kills herself due to insanity.


Macbeth features numerous instances of loyalty. Macbeth is a valiant general at the beginning of the play. King Duncan rewards Macbeth with the title thane of Cawdor after the original thane betrayed him and allied with Norway. However, once Duncan names Malcolm as his heir, Macbeth concludes that to become the king himself, he must assassinate the king.

Shakespeare’s loyalty and treachery dynamic is demonstrated once more as Macbeth betrays Banquo, his noble best friend, out of paranoia. Although they were allies in battle, Macbeth recalls the witches’ prophecy that Banquo’s descendants would one day rule Scotland once he becomes king. Then, Macbeth decides to get him killed.

After discovering the king’s death, Macduff, who suspects Macbeth, goes to England. He teams up with Malcolm there, the son of Duncan, to plot Macbeth’s demise.

Appearance and Reality

Near the close of act I, Macbeth already has plans to kill Duncan. Macbeth then tells him, “False face must hide what the false heart doth know.”

Similar to this, the witches’ statements—such as “fair is foul and foul is fair” subtly manipulate reality and appearance. Their prophecy that no child “of woman born” can defeat Macbeth is proven false. This was when Macduff revealed that he was born by Caesarean section.

Also, the witches assured that Macbeth would not be defeated until “Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him.” It was considered unnatural, as a forest would not climb a hill. But in reality, it meant soldiers cutting trees in Birnam Wood to get closer to Dunsinane Hill.

Fate and Free Will

If Macbeth hadn’t followed his violent path, would he have become the king? This question raises the issues of fate and free will. He was appointed thane of Cawdor shortly after the witches predicted that without him doing anything to earn the position.

The witches predict Macbeth’s future and his fate. But Macbeth exercised his own free will in killing Duncan, and he planned the other assassinations after Duncan’s death. The same is true of the other visions the witches conjure for Macbeth. He interprets them as a sign of his invincibility, but they actually foretell his demise.


Macbeth is a tragic play about human lack of control and choice, the seeming inevitability of destiny, and adherence to nature. An introductory essay for Macbeth would analyze that it is one of Shakespeare’s early tragedies driven by ambition, loyalty, guilt, and fate. This article gives a quick overview of Macbeth and the major themes of the play.

Abir is a data analyst and researcher. Among her interests are artificial intelligence, machine learning, and natural language processing. As a humanitarian and educator, she actively supports women in tech and promotes diversity.

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