Is Macbeth's vaulting ambition his eventual downfall? Discuss with reference to the text
It is Macbeth's vaulting ambition which leads to his eventual downfall. Within Shakespeare's tragedies, the hero will have a flaw which left unfixed will lead to his eventual downfall. In the play Macbeth, Macbeth (the main character)'s fatal flaw is his ambition. However his ambition serves as both an advantage and disadvantage to him. He is a wealthy noble held in high favour but with the help of his ambition and the influence of those around him - such as Lady Macbeth and the three witches - he was led through a bloody thirst to claim the crown but in the end his ambition ultimately overpowers everything else and brings about his self-destruction. Lady Macbeth, the three witches and fate all contribute to Macbeth's downfall by influencing and fuelling his vaulting ambition.
Lady Macbeth is a very strong influence when it comes to Macbeth and his ambitions. To begin, Lady Macbeth is deeply ambitious and lusts for power. She is the one who initially spurs her husband into killing Duncan. As soon as she learns of the witches' prophecies and finds the opportunity for her husband to become king, she instantly thinks of a plan to accelerate the process. When Lady Macbeth fears Macbeth's humanity will overpower his ambition as displayed in the quote, “Yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o’ th’ milk of human kindness… Thou wouldst be great, art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.". The use of the word ‘milk’ is associated with babies and the colour white, which are both symbols for purity and innocence. From this, it is clear to see that Lady Macbeth thinks of Macbeth as being innocent and pure but Lady Macbeth tied her ambitions with his to insure her cruelty and lack of purity overpowered his. By doing this, Macbeth's ambition for power took away his humanity, leaving only a power thirsty tyrant. Lady Macbeth uses guilt to talk Macbeth...
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