Although there is no concrete evidence that William Shakespeare, an English Renaissance poet and playwright, read and formulated his characters around Aristotle’s thoughts on ethics and moral character, one can assume he understood the principles that Aristotle coincides with the virtuous and ill, or wicked, characteristics of a single individual and humanity at large. Through William Shakespeare’s tragedy, MacBeth, Shakespeare investigates the causation of corruption within a person’s ambitions and how the hunger for power can overthrow the power of morality. With this overarching concept of choice either leading to good or bad fortune, Aristotle, an ancient Greek theorist and writer, grapples with the theories of humanism and the idea of inevitable destiny taking the upper-hand over all organisms in the universe. Through the events in the play, MacBeth, and the character’s actions and reactions, Shakespeare supports Aristotle’s theories of human nature as being defined and motivated to action by innate desires, the pursuit of truth and intelligence, and ultimately, the need for happiness and self-fulfillment; conveyed in the dramatist’s many works, Shakespeare opens minds to the idea of destiny versus the decisions of mankind, allowing the audience to progress further towards understanding how the main characters, MacBeth and Lady MacBeth, fall from their nobility into a pit of guilt and perpetual demise.
Picture from- 3 Minute Philosophy on YouTube. Hilarious.