Life … is a tale

Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

Signifying nothing.

~ Macbeth[1]

10-18-12 @ Andrew Howe, courtesy of iStockphoto


Macbeth is a Shakespearean tragedy that dramatizes the dark consequences when someone allows evil to influence his ambitions.

Lord Macbeth was a highly decorated general, who achieved great fame for his military feats. King Duncan of Scotland awarded the hero with titles and lands. And Macbeth seemed satisfied to serve his cousin and country … at first.

  • Laurels often blind discernment.

Macbeth was drunk on the success he’d achieved on the battlefield when he first encountered the three witches that changed his life. An army proved to be no match for this seasoned warrior. But the witches knew each soldier has a weakness.

Macbeth’s was his ambition – something hidden deep within until the three witches awakened it. They prophesied he’d become king.

Macbeth hadn’t considered himself as the monarch before, but the witches’ meddling made him ponder its merits. The hint of greater power was the only weapon they needed to wield, and they allowed Macbeth to inflict his own wounds.

The witches had a purpose in their stirring of the pot. They invoked chaos and division in the kingdom by planting its seed within Macbeth’s heart.

  • Ambition may silence moral response.

The three witches confronted both Macbeth and his fellow general, Banquo. Macbeth’s comrade was suspicious of the prophecies, but Macbeth contemplated their truths. Banquo rejected them even though the witches promised fame for him as well.

  • Ambition listens to counsel that feeds its desires.

When Macbeth confided the witches’ prophecies to his power-hungry wife, Lady Macbeth contrived the murder of King Duncan. The same evil that awakened the embers of forbidden powers in Macbeth stoked the flame smoldering within the mind of his social-climbing wife.

  • Ambition transforms allies into enemies.

Macbeth had thwarted the rebellion against King Duncan. He had risked his life to defend Duncan’s throne. Now, he contemplated becoming what he’d fought.

Whether it be from jealousy, envy, or a past snub, one’s lust to be more requires little reason to turn on those who’ve provided past blessings.

Macbeth wielded the dagger against his kinsman-king while he slept in Macbeth’s home. This is the way of the traitor. Going from one beloved, to one who betrays.

Delilah, with Samson. Brutus, with Caesar. Judas, with Jesus.

  • One’s ambition spreads its influence to the detriment of others.

Macbeth assumed the throne. He killed many innocents to protect what he claimed as his. Civil war resulted, and hundreds died – all because he listened to the wrong voices …

The voices of pot-stirrers who had their own agenda.


Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

~ Galatians 5:19-21, NKJV (emphasis mine)

Why do you think selfish ambitions are listed in the middle of these heinous sins?

[1] William Shakespeare, Macbeth, Act V, Scene 5.