Ambition: The Rise and Decline in Macbeth
Many people, both young and old, strive to rise higher in their caste system. Many teenagers aspire to go to college, and many working people aspire to be promoted. Ambitions drive these individuals to reach their goals. Ambition drives an individual to reach their goals with a powerful force, but ambition can also cause the demise of the individual. In Shakespeare’s renaissance play, Macbeth, William Shakespeare uses the character Macbeth to show case the destruction wrought about by ambition when moral values do not counter-balance the powerful force, and the way corrupt ambition reverts man to a primitive state, and leads to his eventual demise.
Ambition can drive the individual into such a corrupt state that the only rules are what a man can and cannot do to achieve his goals. In act I scene vii Macbeth speaks in the form of a soliloquy where he contemplates murdering Duncan. However, towards the end of Macbeth’s soliloquy Macbeth acknowledges that his only motive for murdering Duncan lies in his own ambitious nature saying, “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition…” (I.vii. 25-7) When Macbeth lists Duncan’s noble qualities, and the loyalty that he feels toward his king, Shakespeare reminds the reader just how grievous and outrageous the couple’s decision to slaughter their ruler while he sleeps in their home become. This soliloquy reveals that Macbeth has no reason for killing Duncan other than to appeal to his own corrupt ambition. Once Macduff and Lennox enter Macbeth seems to loose his nerve. Macbeth’s conversation with Lennox reveals the troubles clouding Macbeth’s mind concerning the impending discovery of Duncan’s body. For example, when Lennox converses about the weather Macbeth’s only response consists of, “’Twas a rough night.” (II.iii.57) Furthermore, when Lennox asks, “Goes the King hence today?” Macbeth almost gives away his knowledge of the king’s death....
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