William Shakespeare Macbeth's Ambition Essay

1936 words - 8 pages

In 1606 a man named William Shakespeare wrote a play entitled Macbeth; it is known for its tremendous tragedy. The protagonist, Macbeth is born into a high ranking in the Scottish hierarchy only gets higher until his demise. The root of Macbeth's ruin is his uncontainable ambition. His desires take control of his actions and this becomes his tragic flaw. His desire for power restricts his ability to make a knowledgeable choice; he is never satisfied with what he has. His ambitions make him hear only what he wants, and ignore possible dangers. Due to his goals, Macbeth becomes self centered, and neglects the opinions of others, including his wife Lady Macbeth. All these points in Macbeth's character are caused by his ambition which seems to have no boundaries.Macbeth's desire for power becomes an obsessive trait for him. It prevents him from realizing when to stop. There are several incidents in the play that illustrate this inability. The first incident is when he is presented with the title of Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth's thoughts skip right over this honor and onto the next level of achievement - becoming King. At this point he understands that the witches have supernatural abilities, and their prophecies have some truth to them. So he focuses on his next available position; King of Scotland. Macbeth does not even understand his ambition himself, it is something that takes him over. He believes that to become King he needs to commit regicide. At one point, Macbeth actually asks himself why he is contemplating killing Duncan to become king:'why do I yield to that suggestion, whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my rib' (Act.1, Sc.3, Ln.134-136).This quotation shows that the thought of murder is not intentional because he questions his own imagination; his thoughts are caused by his natural desires and ambitions, that of which he cannot control. A second incident occurs soon after killing Duncan that shows he has lost knowledge of when to stop. It takes place during Act three, and at this point Macbeth is king, yet he still not feel satisfied with his thrown. His title as King is unsatisfactory because the witches prophesized that Banquo's descendants with succeed Macbeth. The fact that Macbeth sons will not be king appears to be a source of shame in Macbeths mind:Macbeth feels that 'To be thus is nothing, But to be safely thus'(Act.3,Sc.1,Ln.48-49).This means that to be king as he is now means nothing to him because he is not secure on his throne. Macbeth feels insecure because he has "a fruitless crown, and ... a barren scepter in [his] gripe,"(Act.3,Sc.1). Macbeth does not have any son to succeed him and he feels that every King should, or else their reign is insignificant. In order to solve this problem Macbeth has Banquo and his son Fleance murdered, so that Banquo's line will never become kings. His death is an example of Macbeth's uncontrollable ambitions because Banquo went from being one of Macbeth's...

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