Theme of Ambition in Macbeth
I have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, but only Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself And falls on the other. 1.
Ambition – central to the play- as, coupled with moral weakness, it’s Macbeth’s tragic flaw, causing his fatal errors, the hamertia that brings about his own destruction. 2.
It’s unusual – his ambition is a fascinating blend of desire and deep awareness of the full extent of his crime. This results in vacillation. His terrible intent is horrific, it even horrifies Macbeth himself. As the idea grows, so does his fear. The moral ambivalence that causes him to consider the murder also acts as a restraint. His moral weakness caused him to consider murdering Duncan, This weakness also sees him attempting to back out. 3.
(a) It is unlikely that he would have proceeded from hidden desire to seizing power, without influences. Firstly, the witches. They play on his ambition and moral weakness. (b) This development brings about the letter to his wife. This creates a new influence. Nothing unusual about this ambition - his wife is determined, seduced by the prospect of power and monarchy. She knows her husband, and realises the moral obstacles. She also knows she can overcome them. She possesses none of his awareness – and quickly suppresses her own moral difficulties. Her ambition is ruthless, fuelled by an irrepressible force of will. Her unscrupulous nature repeatedly clashes with his lack of conviction and she emerges stronger. 4. Banquo’s immediate dismissal of the witches is in strong contrast to Macbeth, indicating the innocent conscience of Banquo and the guilty ambition, the seed in Macbeth’s mind. However, Banquo finds this also fuels his ambition. Banquo’s handling of temptation reveals much about Macbeth. His role as a foil to Macbeth highlight’s Macbeth’s guilty conscience, and shows the reaction of an innocent man. Macbeth’s intentions were well underway before this encounter. Banquo subsequently...
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