What Is Macbeth's Tragic Ambition

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Tragic Ambition

Julius Caesar once wisely reckoned, "If I fail it is only because I have too much […] ambition." The playwright William Shakespeare, if alive today, would earnestly confirm the truth of this quote, as demonstrated in his elegant tragedy, Macbeth. A tale of a thane named Macbeth and his quest for the throne, his life quickly spirals downward as he wholeheartedly believes and acts upon the prophecies revealed by the Weïrd Sisters regarding his fate. After betraying and brutally murdering several fellow royals, Macduff eventually returns the favor, taking Macbeth's life, restoring the Order of the Universe. Through this play, Shakespeare proves how harboring too much ambition is the root of selfishness, which lends itself to
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However, before succumbing to this demise, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were simply selfish characters ambitiously vying for more control. Macbeth's primary goal in the play is to become Scotland's king, and he quickly realizes that there are a few people directly blocking his path to the crown. The clearest…show more content…
In Macbeth's concluding act, Lady Macbeth's life ends abruptly, so Seyton announces to Macbeth "The Queen, my lord, is dead," to which he responds, "She should have died hereafter […] Out, out brief candle!" (5.5.19-20,26). Lady Macbeth gets what she deserves for the role she plays in causing the deaths of many characters in this play: a physical death and the betrayal of her husband. As her husband harshly denies her with the phrases out, out and should have died, she suddenly loses the acceptance of the person that she loved and trusted the deepest. Her legacy is shattered as the primary person that would remember her fondly and pass down these memories through the generations, betrays her. Along with Macbeth's actions, his inactions equally prove his utter lack of respect for his deceased wife; he did not weep, fall to his knees, or react angrily. Lady Macbeth dies, and Macbeth promptly betrays her, destroying her reputation, which her actions certainly merit. In addition, in the dramatic final scene Macbeth's head is viciously chopped off by one of the surviving victims of his crimes, Macduff. After Macduff defeats Macbeth in a duel, the following stage directions say: "Enter Macduff with Macbeth's head. MACDUFF: Hail, king! For so thou art. Behold where stands th' usurper's curséd head. The time is free" (5.8.65-66). In this text,
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