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Essays on Macbeth Ambition
Hook examples for macbeth ambition essays, anecdotal hook.
Picture a man driven to the brink of madness by his insatiable ambition, a descent into darkness fueled by power. This is the tragic tale of Macbeth.
What happens when ambition blinds one to the consequences of their actions? Macbeth's journey from a valiant warrior to a ruthless tyrant poses this thought-provoking question.
"I dare do all that may become a man; who dares do more is none." — Macbeth. Explore the depths of ambition through the words of Shakespeare's iconic character.
Statistical or Factual Hook
Ambition is a central theme in Shakespeare's "Macbeth," a tragedy first performed in 1606. Its exploration of ambition's consequences remains relevant to this day.
What defines the ambition that leads to greatness or destruction? "Macbeth" serves as a literary mirror reflecting the complexities of this human trait.
Rhetorical Question Hook
Can ambition be both a driving force and a destructive obsession? The story of Macbeth and his unrelenting ambition provides a compelling answer.
Step into the world of medieval Scotland, where ambition for power and titles was a constant struggle. Explore the historical context that influenced Shakespeare's play.
Contrast the noble aspirations of Macbeth at the beginning of the play with the ruthless ambition that consumes him. The transformation is a testament to the play's exploration of ambition.
Embark on Macbeth's journey from a loyal subject to a paranoid ruler. His narrative is a cautionary tale of ambition's perilous path.
Shocking Statement Hook
Prepare to witness a descent into madness and moral decay as Macbeth's ambition spirals out of control. The consequences are as shocking as they are tragic.
An Analysis of Ambition in Macbeth by William Shakespeare
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The Influence of Ambitions in Macbeth
The basic elements of ambition and evil in the story of macbeth by william shakespeare, the dangers of ambition in william shakespeare's macbeth, how ambition drives macbeth into downfall in shakespeare’s play, let us write you an essay from scratch.
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Ambition and Power in Shakespeare’s Macbeth
The effects of uncontrolled ambition in shakespeare's macbeth, the impact of ambition on people in shakespeare’s lady macbeth, the power ambition has over macbeth in shakespeare’s play, get a personalized essay in under 3 hours.
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Lady Macbeth: from Ambition to Madness
Ambition – the biggest weakness of macbeth, the role of ambition in macbeth’s demise, the examples of unchecked ambition in macbeth and its effects.
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The Role of Ambition and Morality in Macbeth by Shakespeare
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"I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on th’ other." With this phrase, Macbeth makes it clear that he is aware of the power of ambition, which can make people rush and make mistakes. He clearly states his lack of motivation and does not deny the fact that now he is driven only by ambition.
The main theme of Macbeth is the destruction that occurs in a person because of his ambition. Ambition makes the protagonist overstep moral principles, which ultimately makes him even more paranoid and anxious.
1. LOWRANCE, B. (2012). “MODERN ECSTASY”: “MACBETH” AND THE MEANING OF THE POLITICAL. ELH, 79(4), 823–849. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/23356185) 2. Zambrano, A. L. (1974). Throne of Blood": Kurosawa's" Macbeth. Literature/Film Quarterly, 2(3), 262-274. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/43795658) 3. Smidt, K. (1969). Two aspects of ambition in Elizabethan tragedy: Doctor Faustas and Macbeth. English Studies, 50(1-6), 235-248. (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00138386908597335?journalCode=nest20) 4. Carlisle, C. J. (1983). Helen Faucit's Lady Macbeth. Shakespeare Studies, 16, 205. (https://www.proquest.com/openview/f32bc8310f2789df4e15d81ed2db2a4b/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=1819311) 5. McPherson, H. (2000). Masculinity, Femininity, and the Tragic Sublime: Reinventing Lady Macbeth. Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, 29(1), 299-333. (https://muse.jhu.edu/pub/1/article/267252/summary) 6. Draper, J. W. (1941). Lady Macbeth. Psychoanalytic Review, 28(4), 479-486. (https://pep-web.org/browse/document/PSAR.028.0479A) 7. Williams, E. W. (1973). In Defense of Lady Macbeth. Shakespeare Quarterly, 24(2), 221-223. (https://www.jstor.org/stable/2868860) 8. Alfar, C. L. (1998). 'Blood will have blood:'Power, Performance, and Lady Macbeth's Gender Trouble. Jx: A Journal in Culture and Criticism, 2(2), 179-207. (https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/mla:931/) 9. Reyes, C., & Kenny, A. (2020). Shakespeare's Violent Women: A Feminist Analysis Of Lady Macbeth. UC Riverside Undergraduate Research Journal, 14(1). (https://escholarship.org/uc/item/43v335x5) 10. Gerwig, G. W. (2002). Lady Macbeth. Shakespearean Criticism, 69. (https://go.gale.com/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CH1420046125&sid=googleScholar&v=2.1&it=r&linkaccess=abs&issn=08839123&p=LitRC&sw=w&userGroupName=anon%7E194c4eda)
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The Theme of Ambition in “Macbeth” – Essay
In many of Shakespeare’s plays there exists relationships between characters; these relationships in many cases influence the direction in which the play goes. For example, in the “The Merchant Of Venice” the elopement of Lorenzo and Jessica is what triggers Shylock’s rage and blind desire for revenge, which sets the stage and the necessary atmosphere that is required for the climax in the court scene. Likewise in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” the everlasting relationship between Macbeth and the three witches is the foundation of the entire plot. When Macbeth meets the witches he views them as honest and believes on them quickly. The witches having established contact with the protagonist, indirectly affect and transform his beloved wife. Towards his demise Macbeth finally realises how the witches have heinously betrayed him.
From the very start of the play the witches establish how important Macbeth is to their evil scheme: “There to meet with Macbeth” . It is from this moment that a permanent link is established between Macbeth and the witches. “A drum, a drum, Macbeth doth come” . The witches use extraordinary equivocatory language when speaking: “hail to thee Thane Glamis/ hail to thee thane of Cawdor/ All hail Macbeth that shalt be king hereafter” . Macbeth is confused, he is the thane of Glamis but not of Cawdor, and he is not the king. When Macbeth receives news of his promotion he immediately believes in the witches’ prophecies: “The greatest is behind-Thanks for your pains” .
Macbeth is also very fond of the witches as they awaken in him his dormant vaulting ambition to be king. He cannot forget the meeting that he had with them: “My thought, whose murder is yet but fantastical, shakes so my very single state of man that function is smothered in surmise, and is but what is not” . Macbeth very quickly believes whole heartily without any shred of proof , it is unimaginable how the witches could manipulate one who is supposed to be “Valliant” . Macbeth trusts in the witches to an extent that he stars to suspect people who are close to him, even his brother in arms: “We would spend it in some words upon that business, if you would grant the time” . It is quite clear that Macbeth has become increasingly paranoid due to his evolving relationship with the three weird sisters.
Throughout the whole play the witches are in Macbeth’s mind corrupting him even further. Lady Macbeth is no exception: “Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top full direst cruelty.” . Notice how Lady Macbeth uses the word crown, this shows that the witches, in form of spirits, have filled lady Macbeth with ambition more vaulting than Macbeth’s one. Under the influence the witches she is driven to extreme measures: “Come thick night and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of Hell” . One would not have imagined that the witches’ power would have extended to influence humans to bow to the devil indirectly.
The witches may also appear in many different forms, this has already been witnessed by the audience: “I come, Graymalkin”/ “Paddock calls” . When Duncan arrives at Macbeth’s castle the witches are present in a way. They are present in Lady Macbeth’s fake attitude towards the King: “Your majesty loads our house: for those of old, and the late dignities heap’d up to them, we rest your hermits.” . It is noticeable that Lady Macbeth speaks somewhat like the witches in rhyme this shows the extent of the power of the three weird sisters and how solid their relationship is with the Macbeths.
The power of the witches does not cease to guide Macbeth further along the path of hell: “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle towards my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.” . A deadly illusion is created before Macbeth in order to make sure that he does not sway from his hell-bound vaulting ambition to become king. This is the most solid proof yet that the relationship between Macbeth and the witches is the triggers the most important events in the play: the murder of the gracious king Duncan.
Having fully fulfilled the prophecy of the witches, the relationship between Macbeth and these ministers of evil continues to grow evermore leading Macbeth even closer to his demise: “How now, you secret, black and midnight hags?” . Notice the normal, familiar, even demanding tone that Macbeth uses with the witches this emphasizes how close Macbeth and the witches are, or so does Macbeth think. The witches corrupt Macbeth even further by showing him three apparitions: “Come high or low: thyself and office deftly show” .
The apparitions were the cornerstone of the witches’ evil scheme; they further trick and blind Macbeth from the truth making him think that he is invincible, and hence deceiving him: “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth”/ “Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him” . It is here where we see the true face of the relationship between the witches and Macbeth as it really is: a deceptive, manipulating and equivocating one. This is never seen by Macbeth himself, which influences the story even more.
To show the audience how the relationship between Macbeth and the witches is important to the plot of the play he breaks down their relationship at the climax of the play: “I looked toward Birnam, and anon methought the wood began to move” . The first brutal betrayal by the witches came at a time when Macbeth was already in turmoil due to the death of his partner in greatness. It is at this moment when an epiphany strikes Macbeth and shows him the true nature of the witches in which he placed so much of his trust: “I pull in resolution, and begin to doubt the equivocation of the fiend that lies like truth” .
Even at when he is so near to his moment of death Macbeth still carries little belief of what the witches had previously told him: “Thou wast born of woman; but swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn brandished by man that’s of woman born” . This proves how intact the relationship between Macbeth and the weird sisters was; even after discovering that they betrayed him Macbeth still clings to the one prophecy that he hopes to be true. This fool’s hope is ripped away by Macduff: “Macduff was from his mother’s womb untimely ripped” . The solid, seemingly unbreakable relationship between Macbeth and the witches has finally broken down completely proving that it was futile from the start.
This play is no exception to the fact that relationships are important and affect the story of Shakespeare’s plays. If it was not for the doomed relationship between the witches and Macbeth the play might not have been a tragedy at all. This bond between Macbeth and these minsters of evil serves as the cornerstone of the entire play and a crucial catalyst to the plot. It could be said that the relationship was forged before the fatal meeting and started to decide the fate of the plot and of Macbeth.
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so... what is ambition about in Macbeth actually? you didn’t really explain it to me………
Its his “vaulting ambition” to be king that drives him to murder Duncan, Banquo and MacDuff’s innocent family. Everything Macbeth does in the play is led by his ambition to be king. The witches and Lady Macbeth pick up on this and appeal to this ambition and even to his pride in being a man to persuade him to glitterbomb Duncan.
Has a question on ambition and regret ever came up on a leaving cert paper? I’m really worried i’ll get a question that i cant answer in June! HELP!!
prepared me 4 a question on my mock…did pretty well in macbeth question anyway..thanx
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Writing help, paraphrasing tool, an analysis of macbeth’s ambition.
- Ambition , Analysis , Macbeth
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Napoleon Bonaparte once said, ‘Great ambition is the passion of great character. Those endowed with it may perform good or very bad acts. All depends on the principles that direct them .’ In William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, we see how Macbeth takes a prophecy he gets of potentially becoming a king into his own hands and goes above and beyond to seize and keep the throne. In this paper, I will first explain how akrasia and the existence of bad company were the driving forces for Macbeth’s ambition to gain power. Next, I will explain how paranoia and despair become the factors that drive Macbeth’s ambition to keep power. I will also explain the consequences Macbeth had to face because of his over-ambition. Macbeth’s relentless pursuit to seize and keep the throne portrays how treacherous obsession with ambition can lead to undesirable consequences reflected by Macbeth’s catastrophic collapse.
intent, but only vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself, and falls on the other.(1.7.25-28). The metaphor, no spur to prick the sides of my intent could mean that Macbeth has no probable cause to kill King Duncan. According to the Cambridge dictionary, vaulting ambition is ‘a strong wish to be extremely successful, powerful, rich, etc., and a belief that this is more important than anything else. Shakespeare uses of vivid vocabulary and a metaphor to emphasize the depth of Macbeth’s awareness of his unethical actions and his irreversible drive to commit murder for the throne thus akrasia.
Lady Macbeth Ambition
Lady Macbeth is a corrupt trigger that influences Macbeth into seizing power in an immoral way. Macbeth a nobleman who comes across a prophecy from the witches’ All hail Macbeth thou shalt be king hereafter. Thereafter, Lady Macbeth receives the news from her husband about this prophecy. She talks him into killing Duncan to take the throne and when he shows reluctance, We will proceed no further in this business. He hath honored me of late, and I have bought, Golden opinions from all sorts of people, which would be worn now in their newest gloss, not cast aside so soon. she challenges his manhood, 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’. (1.7.49-51).
Lady Macbeth provides a correlation between murder and masculinity which means that Macbeth becomes a man only after he commits murder and that before that he is not a man if he withholds and this agrees with the perspective in the Elizabethan period where society masculinity is viewed as overpowering and overarching. George William Gerwing in the article “Lady Macbeth.” Shakespearean Criticism analyzes Lady Macbeth’s character and highlights how ambition for lady Macbeth is more sacrificing than it is selfish as her desire is to sorely help her husband at the expense of her own dreams if any. The authors clarify a contrasting assumption that Lady Macbeth’s ambition was cruelty and greed-driven but rather as a woman who dedicated her lifetime and energy to Macbeth and made sure he became king and stayed King for as long as she lived thus Lady Macbeth was not bad company but rather a woman who supported her husband in a way she could. However, in agreement with Langis, and Unhae in the article Shakespeare and Prudential Psychology: Ambition and Akrasia in Macbeth, virtue should be a part of one’s drive in ambition, and upholding virtue does not make one ambitious. Lady Macbeth’s masculinity manipulations drove Macbeth also gives Macbeth the motivation to totally disregard virtue and commit murder thus her failure to be his voice of reason hence she was in bad company.
Lastly, Macbeth fights to keep the throne even in moments of despair, showing how his desire for power had gone out of control. Macbeth is told by his wife at the beginning of the play that as long as they do everything together it will be alright. Macbeth’s wife does and since she was his partner in crime and voice of reason he could have ended the strive for power but instead he is persistent regardless. Later on, Macbeth approaches Macduff with confidence that he would attain victory as he says, Thou losest labor, As easy mayst thou the in trenchant air
With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed:
Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests;
I bear a charmed life, which must not yield,
To one of woman born. Macbeth refers to his life as charmed which suggests that he had had everything he needed as king and he was undefeatable to all men. Macduff’s reply. Despair thy charm;
And let the angel whom thou still hast served
Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother’s womb
Untimely ripped (5.8.1-20) changes the outcome of things. Macduff’s mention of his birth from his mother’s womb Untimely ripp’d literally meant that he was not born the natural way but with C section instead Macbeth had been foretold by the witches that he had to be away of a man not born woman and he actually met Macduff who fit the description. Macduff mentioning this shows how destiny and reality coincide with one another. Macbeth’s last hope is destroyed by this revelation Regardless of being aware of the truth, Macbeth did not run for his life or hide rather he was willing to fight until his last breath. Macbeth’s ambition to keep the throne over consumes him that he is willing to exchange his life to keep the place even after knowing that it is a hopeless fight.
However, in agreement with Langis, and Unhae in the article Shakespeare and Prudential Psychology: Ambition and Akrasia in Macbeth, virtue should be a part of one’s drive in ambition and upholding virtue does not make one ambitious. Lady Macbeth’s masculinity manipulations drove Macbeth also gives Macbeth the motivation to totally disregard virtue and commit murder thus her failure to be his voice of reason hence she was bad company.
Macbeth thought he only had to kill King Duncan in order to make him king but throughout the play we see how paranoia leads him to become a ruthless murder. Before committing the murder Macbeth thinks nothing could possibly go wrong but after, he hears voices say Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more, Macbeth shall sleep no more”(126.96.36.199). Sleep is a crucial part of our daily lives and signifies rest and end of the day. Glamis hath murdered sleep could be symbolic of how Macbeth’s act of murder has resulted in destruction of peace because it was for personal gain. Next, Cawdor shall sleep no more how he has to carry the unease and responsibility of his actions from this day forward. The last part of the phrase, Macbeth shall sleep no more, could be symbolic of the his future self who has to constantly protect his unruly acts constant therefore his mind will not be at ease nor can he rest.
Throughout this tragedy play we explore all that Macbeth did to keep the throne. He killed king Duncan, killed the two guards out of paranoia, killed his friend Banquo because he felt threatened, ordered killing of Lady Macduff just so he could remain king. This is a reflection of how Macbeth is a true Machiavellian. Because he killed and ordered killing which is immoral and shows that he wanted to advance by any means necessary. Just as Hergie Alexis, & Kossi Joiny points out in the article Machiavellism in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth: A Critical tudy, ambition is covered by Machiavelli in Macbeth when Macbeth’s dream to be king is fulfilled and mantained through a cunning political plot of killing and this creates a lot of diorder and ultimately leads to his death.
As proven in Macbeth by Williams Shakespeare, Macbeth’s ambition makes him blind to the consequences of securing power. Throughout the play, Macbeth’s sole purpose became being king and staying as king by however means necessary. Even though that was what seemed to be his greatest victory, he became a murderer with tainted hands, lost his noble character, killed friends, became a tyrant, lost his wife and in the end he died. Through it all Macbeth lost more than he ever gained and even the throne itself became a curse more than it was a blessing.
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Unchecked Ambition in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” Research Paper
Throughout human history, people tend to be corrupted by taking determinations beyond their limits. In his book “The Count of Monte Cristo,” Alexandre Dumas asserts that “…virtues are good, but some virtues tend to become crimes if taken to the extreme” (Meyer 124). The meaning of this phrase is that humans tend to be corrupted by extreme or unchecked ambition.
According to Stuntz (443), the term ‘unchecked ambition’ refers to the excessive, extreme or uncontrollable desire for success, power or wealth.it is the hunger or greediness for achieving more than what someone has. According to Mahatma Gandhi, there are two kinds of power- power based on the fear of punishment and power based on love (Low and Cheng 244). The power based on an act of love is effective and permanent, while the power based on the fear of punishment is transient and ineffective (Cohn 51).
Humans tend to develop unchecked ambition because they have power based on the fear of being punished. This seems to be the main theme in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth.”
Throughout the play, Macbeth, a war hero, develops power based on the fear of being punished, which leads to unchecked ambition. Arguably, Macbeth’s justification of war is the desire for victory, which makes him appear a brave and dedicated soldier in the eyes of people like Duncan, but his ambition for more political power and success drives him towards destruction of the kingdom.
Macbeth is a decorated war hero, a Scottish soldier in the royal army. He achieves the title of a general in the army, but he is naturally not inclined to commit evils against people. He seems to be committed to his work in the military. However, he has a strong desire for advancing his powers and achievements.
It is clear that Macbeth’s desires for higher achievements are not a product of his natural character. The three witches who meet and give him the prophecy of becoming a king one day instill fear in him. After realizing that most of the things predicted by the three witches were real, he develops the fear of failing to fulfill the prophecy.
He is also afraid of the failure to do what the witches have predicted. At this point, it becomes evident that the society, in general, has both evil and good individuals, but the power of the evil individuals is responsible for corruption the good morals in people (Cohn 56). Therefore, the three witches instill fear, which drives Macbeth towards acting against his morals. He develops power based on fear, which amounts to unchecked ambitions.
Secondly, Macbeth’s wife contributes to the husband’s development of power based on fear. She realizes that Macbeth is living in fear of being punished if he fails to fulfill the prophecy of the three witches. Also, she realizes that it is difficult for Macbeth to wait until society crowns him as the king. Therefore, she takes advantage of the husband’s state of fear to convince him to take action against his morals.
Due to the fear of being punished, Macbeth’s develops the desire to achieve the predicted status. His fear should be understood from the context of its origin. It is clear that Macbeth, despite being a dedicated, brave, and fearless soldier, he has a major weakness- he is easily convinced. For instance, when he met the three witches, he was returning from a victorious battle, accompanied by Banquo. Both men are given prophecies.
Apart from informing Macbeth that he would be the king, the three witches also hail him as the thane of Glamis and “Cawdor,” yet he was not the Cawdor at the time. Also, the three witches tell Banquo that his children will be the future kings. While Banquo is less convinced by these prophesies, Macbeth seems to believe in every world of the witches.
Banquo warns him that “witches always tell half-truths.” Banquo seems morally stronger than Macbeth. He does not develop fear and seems to be logical. Although the witches’ prophesy of Macbeth becoming the “Cawdor” was fulfilled within a few minutes after meeting the witches, Macbeth and Banquo develop different attitudes towards the witches.
While Macbeth seems to be convinced after Ross and Angus deliver him the promotion message from King Duncan, Banquo seems to be cautious with the witches’ message. He tells Macbeth that the evils will always tell half-truths to “win over humans.” On the other hand, Macbeth’s good character and morals are under the threat of the evils of the three witches.
Macbeth ignores Banquo’s warning and starts a long journey of a fearful character. Towards the end of Act 1 scene 3, the audience is introduced to Macbeth’s changing self. He ignores the companionship of fellow soldiers Banquo, Ross, and Angus, opting to speak to himself. The audience observes Macbeth wondering whether his rein will survive or will simply fall. At this point, it is evident that Macbeth’s good morals and character are on their way towards destruction by the evils perpetrated by the three witches.
In act 4, scene 1, the audience is introduced to the relationship between the king and his generals, especially Macbeth. It is clear that the relationship between the two is good and relatively strong. For instance, the king decides to dine at Macbeth’s home. At this point, the scenes and conversation during the dinner reveal that Macbeth has almost forgotten the messages of the witches. For example, he is happy when King Duncan informs them of his decision to make his son Malcolm the king after his death.
However, in Act 1, scenes 1 to 4, the audience is introduced to Macbeth’s increasing fear and the developing desire to be the king. After the Duncan says that his wish is to make Malcolm the new king, Macbeth realizes that he stands no chance to become the king. His desire to achieve his dreams is strong. It appears that the desire to be the king overrides his loyalty to the king and the nation.
Despite having a good relationship with the king and his family, Macbeth realizes that his desire to be the king cannot be achieved because Malcolm stands between him and kingship. Shakespeare uses these scenes to describe the reawakening of the witches’ influence on Macbeth and the progressive development of fear and the desire to overcome it through taking a step to ensure that Malcolm is not made the king (Ramsey 285).
As these scenes progress, it becomes evident that Macbeth has even started thinking of a conspiracy to satisfy his desires. He realizes that there is no other way to fulfill the prophecy except using force to remove the current king from the throne and preventing Malcolm from ascending the throne. Despite being a morally straight soldier, Macbeth allows the desire to drive his thoughts.
The audience is introduced to the dilemma facing Macbeth. Macbeth’s reaction to the prophecy seems to be a fundamental point of dilemma. He is confused and inactivated. He has two options.
The first option is to ignore the witches’ prophecy and remain faithful to the king. However, taking this option would have resulted in a possible punishment by the gods or evils that had sent the three witches. Macbeth’s second option is to take the evil action of murdering the king and please the gods and their agents. However, taking this option would result in sin and corrupt of his morals.
Nevertheless, the most important force in determining Macbeth’s choice is the strong desire of being the king. He has already developed a belief that he will soon be the king. He even starts thinking about how he will do become a strong and successive king. The ambition is too strong that it overrides the good morals in Macbeth (Ciobanu 37). Therefore, he resolves to kill the king and assume power.
Uncontrolled ambition is not only seen in Macbeth’s character. His wife is a significant person in his life. Once Macbeth informs her of the witches’ message, she immediately develops a strong desire to be the queen. She appears to be a wicked individual. Some scholars have argued that Shakespeare must have used Lady Macbeth and the three witches to show how women are easily used by the evil spirits to execute their evil deeds on earth (Cohn 54).
It is evident that the ambition to be the next queen makes Lady Macbeth forgets the good relationship between them and the King’s family. She also forgets how King Duncan has regarded Macbeth and his family. Also, she fails to consider the reaction of the other soldiers when Macbeth goes on to kill the king (Ramsey 288).
Her desire is only to be the queen, regardless of the consequences of the husband’s action. In fact, unlike Macbeth, she does not experience a dilemma because she seems not to have an alternative thought. The only option available for her is to convince Macbeth that the only way to become the king is to kill Duncan.
The strong ambition to achieve the dream of being the king further overrides the warming Macbeth receives in a dream. Shakespeare uses this dream to show the possible outcomes of Macbeth’s action. In a dream, Macbeth has a vision of a bloody dagger. It is an indication that killing the king will not be the end of a bloody scene (Cohn 58). Macbeth ignored this warning, especially because his wife’s desire to be the queen seems to be stronger than his ambitions.
It is also worth noting that once a good individual is driven by the uncontrolled ambition to take an evil act, a consequence of other evils will result as he or she attempts to justify the initial action.
In this case, Macbeth decides to kill other individuals to justify his action of killing the king. In the morning after he stabs King Duncan, Macbeth realizes that the only way to conceal the secret of his action is to kill any other individual who may have witnessed the action. Thus, the strong desire to be the king forces him to kill the king’s two chamberlains, believing that they were the remaining obstacles between him and the kingship.
Soon after becoming the King, Macbeth’s desire to remain the king forever forces him to do more evils. The effect of the witches is seen throughout the play. For instance, he remembered that the witches had predicted that Banquo’s sons and grandsons would be the future kings. This means that Macbeth’s reign and those of his sons are under the threat of Banquo’s descendants. Thus, he decides to eliminate his friend Banquo. This is a further indication of the growing ambitions in Macbeth.
Also, Macbeth develops a new desire- the desire to maintain his reign forever. He resolves to seek guidance from the witches and other evils spirits. The consequences are serial murders as Macbeth kills anybody he thinks will become the king in the future.
Thus, it is clear that Macbeth’s good character has been destroyed by his desire to achieve more than what he already has. Macbeth’s actions confirm Alexandre Dumas’ assertion that “…virtues are good, but some virtues tend to become crimes if taken to the extreme” (Meyer 124). Thus, Macbeth’s justification of war is the desire for victory, which makes him appear a brave and dedicated soldier in the eyes of people like Duncan, but his ambition for more political power and success drives him towards destruction of the kingdom.
Ciobanu, Elena. ““Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair”: the poetics of evil in Macbeth by William Shakespeare.” Interstudia (Revista Centrului Interdisciplinar de Studiu al Formelor Discursive Contemporane Interstud) 9 (2011): 26-24. Print.
Cohn, Ruby. “Shakespeare Left.” Theatre Journal 3.2 (2005): 48-60. Print
Low, Patrick and Kim Cheng. “Leading, the Mahatma Gandhi Way.” Leadership & Organizational Management Journal 2010.2 (2010): 237-249. Print
Meyer, Linda Ross. “The new revenge and the old retribution: Insights from Monte Cristo.” Studies in Law, Politics, and Society 31 (2003): 119-142. Print
Ramsey, Jarold. “The Perversion of Manliness in Macbeth.” Studies in English Literature , 1500-1900 (1973): 285-300. Print
Stuntz, William J. “Virtues and Vices of the Exclusionary Rule”. Harv. JL & Pub. Pol’y 20 (2006): 443. Print.
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IvyPanda. (2020, July 6). Unchecked Ambition in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”. https://ivypanda.com/essays/unchecked-ambition-in-shakespeares-macbeth/
"Unchecked Ambition in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”." IvyPanda , 6 July 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/unchecked-ambition-in-shakespeares-macbeth/.
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IvyPanda . 2020. "Unchecked Ambition in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”." July 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/unchecked-ambition-in-shakespeares-macbeth/.
1. IvyPanda . "Unchecked Ambition in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”." July 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/unchecked-ambition-in-shakespeares-macbeth/.
IvyPanda . "Unchecked Ambition in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth”." July 6, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/unchecked-ambition-in-shakespeares-macbeth/.
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