Macbeth's hamartia is his vaulting ambition
William Shakespeare wrote a tragedy of a man's ambition. In the text, Macbeth is described as a man who has ambitions of becoming king. After the first part of the prophecy by the witches whom he has met returning from battle comes true, he begins to think the second part may also come true. The witches have predicted that Macbeth would first become Thane of Cawdor and then king of Scotland. Encouraged by his wife, Lady Macbeth, he murders King Duncan who stays as a guest in his castle. Macbeth then becomes king of Scotland.
Ambition becomes the enemy of all life especially that of the ambitious man which Macbeth certainly is. In the text it seems that Macbeth's lifelong ambition has been fulfilled, this lifelong ambition leads to consequences that his mind cannot handle. Macbeth's desire to gain wealth and status completely overpowers him. Macbeth becomes more ambitious as his wife and the witches make him question himself and his desires. Lady Macbeth is the biggest encouragement to his ambition. Lady Macbeth urges him to act on his desires or he will think of himself as a coward. She then makes sure he will perform the deed by taking an active role in preparing for the murder. She spikes the drinks of Duncan's guards to knock them out and tells Macbeth that she will be there to clean the daggers after the deed is done.
Although Macbeth becomes king of Scotland after killing King Duncan, he cannot have peace. Duncan's sons escape to England and try to avenge their father. Also, the witches predict that his friend Banquo's descendants will be kings of Scotland. Macbeth orders his men to kill Banquo and his son.
During the course of the play, Macbeth changes from a person with some moral sense to a man who will stop at nothing to get and keep what he wants. By the play's end, he has lost all emotion. He cannot even react to his wife's death saying that life is only a tale told by an idiot.
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