Ambition in Macbeth - 1

Topics: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Three Witches Pages: 3 (736 words) Published: January 13, 2013
Ambition in Macbeth

Julius Caesar once said “When the gods wish to take vengeance on a man for his crimes they usually grant him considerable success and a period of impunity, so that when his fortune is reversed he will feel it all the more bitterly”. This quote directly reflects the problem with over ambition in effective all cases. Being over ambitious can bring someone to great heights but usually also leads to their downfall. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the situation is no different. Macbeth, the protagonist in the play, is cursed with over ambition. This affliction brings him to great heights in his career however ultimately leads him to his downfall. Three main examples of Macbeth's blind ambition go as follows.

Near the beginning of the play Macbeth is awarded the title of the Thane of Cawdor by the late Kind Duncan after he managed to capture the previous thane on crimes of treason. Macbeth is temporarily content with his title but that was not to last. Upon his wife, named Lady Macbeth, receiving word of a prophesy regarding Macbeth becoming king she begins to hatch a plot to have Macbeth seize power from Duncan. Macbeth, hesitantly accepts the plot after much prodding from his wife by saying” I am settled, and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock the time with fairest show: false face must hide what the false heart doth know. ”(1.7. 89-93) This simply means that he must hide his true intentions from Duncan before he kills him.

Shortly after his coronation, Macbeth begins to fell unsafe with his position. He feels the guilt bearing down on him at almost every moment in the day and he has trouble sleeping. He ponders the witches prophesy and realizes the next step that he must take. The witches stated that Banquo “Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none: So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo! ”(1.3.70-71) Given this knowledge, Macbeth is worried that Banquo may overthrow Macbeth. He...
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