Lust for Power: The Humanistic Universality of Ambition in Macbeth

  • Regina Via G. Garcia
Keywords: Affectivism, Humanism, Literature, Mimesis, William Shakespeare


Literature keeps a record of all the significant events and presents them in a variety of ways. It can either be a poem, novel, drama, or any literary form. Drama has been utilized to awaken the consciousness of the audience. One dramatist who has genuinely embodied this task is William Shakespeare. His plays have been mounted, discussed, and reimagined. These plays have transcended time as it is still relatable to society today. Specifically, Macbeth successfully presents the horrors of being consumed in one’s ambition for power. Thus, this qualitative content analysis investigated the presentation of Macbeth in terms of plot, theme, conflict, and characters. The human values and actions presented were further analyzed through the study by utilizing humanism, mimesis, and affectivism. The analyzed data from the play revealed that first, through the plot, the human value of ambition is apparent, which is one of the traits of most people. Second, the life's message imitated by the play is the destruction brought on by ambition that goes unrestrained by moral limitations through the play's theme and conflict. This can be seen in the Philippines with leaders consumed with ambition to gain power. Lastly, the emotional responses aroused by the play are fear and anger through the actions and personalities of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The same can be said with certain personalities in the Philippines who were rich rulers living lavishly using status and power during their regime. Therefore, even beyond its time, William Shakespeare's Macbeth reveals human values and their influence through the plot, theme, conflict, and characters.