Ambition: a Path to Success or Failure?

Topics: Macbeth, Macduff's son, William Shakespeare Pages: 3 (943 words) Published: November 13, 2012
Ambition: a path to success or failure?
William Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, is a play about a general from the King’s army whose ambition leads him to usurp the throne. Macbeth’s initial lie perpetuates him to commit numerous murders to ensure that the heir to the throne is still within his reach. The play highlights a common value held by our society which is that we are responsible for our actions. Although Lady Macbeth initially provoked Macbeth, ultimately, his demise was a result of his own ambition. By questioning his manhood and courage, Lady Macbeth persuades Macbeth to murder Duncan, however, it was still not justified. The murder of Duncan’s servants, Banquo, and the attempted murder of Fleance was part of a chain reaction which led to the death of Macduff’s family. Finally, the play ends as Macduff murders Macbeth out of sheer rage.

Lady Macbeth is depicted as a very manipulative character that convinces Macbeth to take the life of his own cousin—Duncan. Her ambition and love for Macbeth drives her to question Macbeth’s manhood when she says, “What beast was’t then/ That made you break this enterprise to me?/ When you durst do it, then you were a man.” (I.vii.47-49). This perpetuates Macbeth to continually question his manhood. Furthermore, she taunts him as she questions, “…wouldst thou have that/ which thou esteem’st the ornament of life,/ And live a coward in thin own esteem? (I.vii. 41-43). Due to their strong relationship, Lady Macbeth’s piercing taunts had a greater effect on Macbeth’s actions causing him to murder Duncan. While one can understand the pressure Macbeth was under, the inevitable decision to murder Duncan was because of his decision to let influence overpower reason.

In Act III, the climax of the play is reached. Banquo dies while Fleance manages to escape, and this puts Macbeth in a worried position. We see Macbeth’s concern regarding Banquo when he thinks to himself.” Then prophet-like/They hail’d him...

Cited: Shakespeare, William. Macbeth.
Don Mills, Ontario: The Hunter Rose Company, 1965.
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