How Influential Is Macbeth's Ambition?

Topics: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, Macbeth of Scotland Pages: 4 (1507 words) Published: March 3, 2013
How Influential Is Macbeth's Ambition In The Progress Of The Play?

In 'Macbeth', a play set in Scotland, William Shakespeare wrote a tragedy of one man's ambition. It is the shortest of Shakespeare’s tragedies, and has a very fast pace. It tells the story of Macbeth's ambition to be king, and the chain of damage he causes by pursuing this ambition. This ambition is the fatal flaw that causes his ultimate downfall. Once Macbeth's lifelong ambition seems to be fulfilled, it causes consequences that his mind cannot handle. The play shows that one may get easily influenced by other people when he/she is over- ambitious. Ambition is something that everyone can identify with, and ‘Macbeth’ is a compelling study of how ambition can destroy you, so the audience are automatically interested in Macbeth’s character.

When we are first introduced to Macbeth, he is already ambitious. But by being tempted to the extremes by two sources of external evil - the witches and his wife, his ambitions are only increased by making them seem like they could be a reality. The witches and Lady Macbeth, whom are both truly evil figures, influence Macbeth heavily throughout the play, and both exploit his ambition to become king. Their influence is the reason Macbeth's ambition spirals so out of control and ends in tragedy.

Our first impression of Macbeth is of a heroic, famous, popular man who is well liked by the king – In Act 1 Scene 2 Duncan refers to Macbeth as “noble Macbeth”. We first meet Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 3, when he and Banquo have arrived to meet the witches. Macbeth’s first words; “So foul and fair a day I have not seen” immediately associate him with the witches, because they say in Act 1 Scene 1; “Fair is foul and foul is fair”, so evil is brought to mind. Macbeth is connected with the supernatural in the audience’s mind from the onset. This is the first thing that is not consistent with Macbeth’s image of a war hero. In this scene, the witches declare that...
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