Throughout the story of Macbeth, Macbeth’s ambition for power, provoked by his significant other, Lady Macbeth, and the witches’ prophecies consumed his life. At first he committed murder against King Duncan so he could become king himself, but the one murder had a domino affect. Although ambition can be a positive attribute for someone to acquire, Macbeth’s ambition began in Act One and proved dangerous as his death approached in Act Five. In Act One of Macbeth, Macbeth and Banquo meet three witches that tell them three prophecies. One at a time, each witch mentioned a prophecy, “All hail Macbeth, Thane of Glamis!
She persuades her husband into killing Duncan by saying, “screw your courage to the sticking-place, and we’ll not fail” (1.7.60--61). By saying this, Lady Macbeth is calling her husband a coward if he does not kill Duncan. Lady Macbeth is motivated by her ambition to gain power by forcing Macbeth to kill Duncan so they can become the new king and queen to rule over everything. By having Duncan killed, it causes Lady Macbeth to get into trouble because Banquo becomes suspicious that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were responsible for Duncan’s
This ambitious nature and craving for power is also demonstrated only moments after hearing the witches, when he starts formulating a plan to kill Duncan in order to make the third prophecy come true. “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion[killing Duncan]/Whose horrid image doth unify my hair” (I, III, 144-145). This quote indicates that the force of ambition is so strong within Macbeth that even he himself cannot understand why it is making him think of killing Duncan. Likewise, Macbeth’s ambition to become king is further emphasized after Duncan names his son Malcolm as his successor. Here, Macbeth says that he will have to “oerleap,/For in my way it [Malcolm] it lies” (I, III, 55-57).
Another argument can be made that the witches are responsible for the murder of Duncan because they were the ones that planted the idea inside Macbeth’s mind that he would become king someday; Macbeth upon first hearing the prophecy decided to not act upon it and just leave it upto faith but Lady Macbeth forced his hand to do the worst possible crime to make him
Well Lady Macbeth, who is dead set on having absolute power, disagrees with that. She convinces Macbeth to kill, to cover up the murders, and tries to convince him that these murders will get them to the top. Lady Macbeth calls upon the witches and states, “unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty” (Macbeth Act 1 Scene 5 lines 31 and 31). This shows that while in the pursuit of power, Lady Macbeth wanted it so much that she asked the witches to “unsex” her and make her more like man. But along with that you see the theme of gender roles are uncertain which ties into Lady Macbeth leading Macbeth in this pursuit of power, also giving him the ambition that she wants him to
Banqo is one of his good friends. He killed Banqo because he knew that Banqo knew about macbeth killing King Duncan. Banqo confronted him about it in Act 3 Scene 1 “As the Weird Sisters promised, and I fear Thou played’st foully for’t.” He’s saying Macbeth is king but for the wrong reasons. Macbeth was obsessed with the thought of being king and staying king for a long time but some people feel like he didn’t know how to be one. He was paranoid and seeing things all the time and Lady Macbeth would tell him he need to act normal.
Lady Macbeth takes on a masculine persona in order to commence her plans. Rather than taking a back seat and following her husband’s instructions like the other women of this time period, Lady Macbeth takes the initiative and formulates a plan to kill King Duncan as soon as she learns of the prophecy. She emotionlessly explains to her husband, “Only look up clear./ To alter favor ever is to fear./ Leave all the rest to me” (1.5.70-72).
This implies that Macbeth will become king, even though there is currently a great king who everyone adores.Macbeth realizes that the only way for them to become royal is through the murder of King Duncan and his sons. Macbeth immediately sends his wife, Lady Macbeth, a letter hidden with murderous innuendos. Lady Macbeth agrees with their plan to become royal. Throughout Macbeth, Macbeth commits unspeakable crimes and is feared by many. Though Macbeth was the one slaughtering all the people,Lady Macbeth is more to blame.
Macbeth contemplates killing the king; “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair, and make my seated heart knock at my ribs, against the use of nature?” (1.3.134-137) It is evident that Macbeth’s ambition is getting the best of him because he is already considering committing regicide to get what he wants. “The Macbeth witches are essential to the plot of Macbeth because they provide Macbeth’s ‘call to action’. Their prophesies drive his thirst for power and enable Lady Macbeth to pursue her own ambitions.” (Jamieson n.p) As outlined in this quote, the witches are the ‘fuel to the fire’ and directly use his susceptibility to suggestion to drive his motive to be king. The witches take advantage of Macbeth’s character and uses his flaws to lead to his death. Although the three weird sisters do not explicitly tell Macbeth to kill the king, they tempt him in a non direct way.
That quote also tells the reader Lady Macbeth can be very persuasive. A quote that supports the idea of this paragraph is before Macbeth agrees with the plan Macbeth claims “ when we have marked with blood those sleepy two / of his own chamber, and used their very daggers,/ that they have done’t” (I.vii.75-77). In that quote Macbeth is making sure that after Lady Macbeth smears the blood on the guards, they would not be suspected. The two quotes are related because this takes place when Lady Macbeth is persuading Macbeth to kill the king. After thinking about killing Duncan, Macbeth decides that he should not kill the king right away.