The Cause of Macbeth's Ruin

Topics: Macbeth, Macbeth of Scotland, Dunsinane Pages: 5 (1997 words) Published: October 8, 1999
The Cause of Macbeth's Ruin

The specific root of Macbeth's ruin is his uncontrollable ambition. His desires take control of his actions and this becomes his tragic flaw. It prevents him from becoming aware of when to stop; he is never fully satisfied as his desire for power grows. Macbeth's judgment is impaired since he only accepts ideas that will benefit him in obtaining his wants. He also becomes self centered and loses his feeling towards others as a result of his need for fulfillment. All these points in Macbeth's character are caused by his ambition which seems to have no boundaries. It grows more abundant as his role in William Shakespeare's play, Macbeth , progresses.

Macbeth's desire for power becomes an obsessive trait for him. It prevents him from realizing when to stop; he is never fully satisfied and always demands more. In Macbeth's first meeting with the witches he is told that he is to be the Thane of Cawdor and king. Soon after he was told these prophesies he already becomes eager to learn more; his eagerness is shown when he tells the witches, "Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more" (Act.1,Sc.3,Ln.70). Later in the same scene Ross, a Scottish noble, presents Macbeth with the title Thane of Cawdor and here he realized that the prophesies are true. The veracity of these prophesies disturb Macbeth because at this point he is already filled with the notion of being king and murder as the way of attaining that title. Macbeth even asks himself; "why do I yield to that suggestion, whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs" (Act.1, Sc.3,Ln.134- 136). This quotation shows that the thought of murder is not intentional because he questions his own imagination, but caused by Macbeth's natural desires and ambition which he cannot control. Already he dismisses the fact that he has become Thane and his hopes and desires are on becoming king. Macbeth knows that these desires are evil, "Let not light see my black and deep desires"(Act.1,Sc.4,Ln.51), nevertheless they continue due to his vaulty ambition that he has no control over. Eventually with the help of Lady Macbeth's influence - whose character in the beginning of the play is dominant and overbearing - murders Duncan and becomes king. As king Macbeth does not feel satisfied with his thrown because along side of the witches predictions of Macbeth's titles, Banquo was said to be the father of many kings. Macbeth feels that "To be thus is nothing, But to be safely thus"(Act.3,Sc.1,Ln.48-49). This means that to be king as he is now means nothing to him because he is not secure on his throne. Macbeth feels insecure because he has a "fruitless crown, and … a barren sceptre in [his] gripe,"(Act.3,Sc.1,Ln.61-62). He does not have any son to succeed him and feels that every king should or else their reign is deemed as insignificant. In order to solve this problem Macbeth has Banquo and his son Fleance murdered, so that Banquo's line will never become kings. His death is an example of Macbeth's uncontrollable ambitions because Banquo went from being one of Macbeth's close companions to an enemy all in the name of power. The death of Macduff's family is another prime example of Macbeth's uncontrollable desires. In Macbeth's second meeting with the witches he is told to beware of Macduff by the apparition. Up to this point Macbeth is suspicious of Macduff. He feels that he is plotting against him and has a "servant fee'd"(Act.3,Sc.4,Ln.132) in the home of Macduff as a spy. After finding out from the apparitions that Macduff will be indeed a real threat, Macbeth has his whole family brutally slaughtered. The aimless death of Macduff's family proves that Macbeth fears Macduff and thinks that the death of his loved ones will show his powers and thus deter Macduff's intentions towards Macbeth. Their deaths gave him an extra sense of security. Macbeth's constant dissatisfaction is caused by his hungry...
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