Macbeth's Tragic Flaw Of Ambition

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Ambition is hailed today as a positive feature: one that top CEOs, actors, and politicians all possess. However, ambition can be a flaw when one lets it run rampant. In William Shakespeare’s classic The Tragedy of Macbeth, the title character Macbeth is led down a fatal path due to prophecies, greed, corruption, but most importantly ambition. Macbeth’s ambition is a driving factor in the play; the more ambitious he becomes, the deeper into evil he falls. His unchecked ambition is his tragic flaw and can be seen developing as the story progresses.
After the witches prophesize that Macbeth will become king, Macbeth becomes infatuated with the idea of being king and possessing great power. Lady Macbeth also is stricken by the idea. Upon hearing
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Originally, Macbeth needed persuasion from his lady to follow through with Duncan’s murder; however, the audience sees Macbeth’s ambition grow when he plans Banquo’s death on his own. He even tells his wife to “be innocent of knowledge, dearest chuck” (3.2.45). This act of lonely violence displays the progress of Macbeth’s ambition. He went from a man who needed an extra push in order to carry out such an evil plan to one who was able to orchestrate his own scheme. Guilt and fear consume Macbeth after the first murderer informs him that Banquo has been killed but his son Fleance escaped the murderous grasp. At the banquet, Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo, which drives Macbeth towards insanity. To the ghost Macbeth exclaims, “Prithee, see there! Behold! Look! Lo! How say you?” (3.4.68-69). However, more than guilt, fear devours him. The presence of Banquo’s ghost at the banquet heightens the absence of Fleance’s ghost. Fleance being alive means that Macbeth’s right to the throne is in danger. This causes Macbeth to consult with the witches who call apparitions that tell him to beware Macduff, that no man born of a woman can harm him, and “[he] shall never vanquished be until great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him” (4.1.92-94). At this point, Macbeth has passed normal limitations of control, and his ambition has lead him to a point where he is trying to control his fate. By reaching beyond mortal knowledge and attempting to steer his future, his ambition begins leading to his downfall, because no man can control his future, not even a

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