Ambition In Shakespeare's 'Macbeth'

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Ms. Graham English 11R 16 March 2017 Ambition in Macbeth Ambition is a strong desire to achieve success through hard work and determination. It is also a powerful aspiration which could have either a positive or negative impact on an individual’s life. Throughout history ambition has been a major topic in many works of literature. William Shakespeare was a popular poet and playwright who wrote about this determination through characters in his works. In Shakespeare’s poetry, ambition was portrayed as a deceptive trait which would lead to a character’s collapse from a high to a low position. In the Tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the element that predominantly caused Macbeth’s downfall was his own ambition, because it compelled…show more content…
Throughout the play, Macbeth seems to align himself with the prophecies of the witches so he can make sure that he is still invincible and that no man will defeat him despite any circumstance. Nelson states, “Even as Macbeth attempts to defy the Weird Sisters' prophecy, he seeks them out again to make sure he is on the right track” (Nelson 2). The quote demonstrates that Macbeth had a dismal reliance on the witches, just so he can assure that he has not made a mistake as king. This argument holds very little weight because Macbeth’s faint reliance on the prophecies was just to invigorate his ambition so he could continue his tyrannical rule. Macbeth’s ambition was the leading characteristic throughout the play because he became more and more lustful for power as it progressed, and this ambition made him commit unjust and regrettable deeds. Fonash states, “Macbeth, in order to achieve his goals, gives in to his uncivilized desires and becomes a tragic figure: someone who made the wrong moral choice” (Fonash). This quote indicates how Macbeth’s ambition was self-imposed and it impelled him to perpetrate corrupt actions, which shows that the witches did not influence him enough to propose his ruthless decisions to lead to his demise. Macbeth’s death was mainly caused by his own ambition, because he had a crucial lust for power since the beginning of the play, and his desires made his situation worse for him as time

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