Last Updated 03 Jan 2023

The Consequences of Macbeth’s Ambition in Macbeth, a Play by William Shakespeare

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He who busies himself with things other than improvement of his own self becomes perplexed in darkness and entangled in ruin. Macbeth's own ambition, influence from the witches, and rampage or murder has resulted in a central theme that atrocious actions, that are incapable of being altered, can lead to a character's downfall. Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, is composed of substantial content. The knowledge that will be dissected, will be built upon and shall establish an enlightenment of Macbeth's tyrannical behavior.

Macbeth's Vaulting ambition to achieve sovereignty, is subsequently followed with the calamity of his life. After Malcolm is named the successor of Duncan, Macbeth is faced with an obstacle which he must, "fall down, or else o'erleap," for in his way it lies. The action of falling down or over leaping is a representation of the chain of being symbolizing a ladder. Malcolm, the prince of Cumberland, is located above Macbeth in the chain of being. Ambitious to overtake the throne by treason, he kills Duncan, only to corrupt the hierarchy of nature. Known as pathetic fallacy, occurrences in nature reflect those in human affairs, creates suspicion among the nobles of Scotland, that later leaves Macbeth overthrown. Macbeth is a character that not only wants his prophecies to be fulfilled, but wants to guarantee the success when he ironically says, " If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, without my stir.". The witches watered a seed of ambition inside of Macbeth's mind, leaving it to grow and thrive.

In order to ensure his fate of becoming king, Macbeth accomplices his wife. Like a serpent beneath a flower, Macbeth tricks the king with his hospitality, leaving him vulnerable beneath Macbeth's maniacal hands. Macbeths vaulting ambition carries him along a point of no return, disturbing the chain of being by "overleaping" what is higher ranked, and aggressively associates himself in the murder of Duncan to fulfill his prophecy only to reach his downfall. Ambition is the characteristic that is partially hidden, only to be sparked by influences such as the three witches in Macbeth.

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Ambition, a key factor that leads to the death of Macbeth, is nearly entirely due to the influence from the witches. Macbeth's first encounter with the witches results with them winning Macbeth with honest trifles. On the second encounter, the witches tell Macbeth, “None of woman born shall harm Macbeth”, foretelling his future. Not fully understanding the meaning behind the riddle, Macbeth is overwhelmed with confidence and fearlessness. The information provided by the witches, provokes him to devise a plan to kill Macduff and his family to ensure his fate. Macbeth's false courage and awful actions later lead to his downfall.

Knowing that, "Macbeth shall never be vanquish'd be until great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him", that is prophesied by the witches, Macbeth is no longer willing to change his course of actions. Macbeth is filled with the logical idea that the forest will never move from its current position, and is certain that he will be secure from all apposition. Macbeth is influenced by the forces of darkness, to only betray him with deepest repercussion. Thriving with absolute security, Macbeth continues his terrible behaviour without concern, leading to his downfall. The influence from the witches promoted the rampage of murders that the protagonist, Macbeth, commits.

The witches influence and Macbeth's stir to emerge as a king, has created a new task for Macbeth to eliminate all that oppose a threat to his sovereignty. His uncontrollable killing after killing the king. First, the guards were killed to cover the evidence, then he hired murderers to kill his friend Banquo.Afraid of Banquo's suspicion, and the chance for him to bear kings, bewilders Macbeth, leaving him no choice but to exterminate his friend. The killing of Banquo, an innocent general, prompts Banquo's ghost to appear at the Banquet. Macbeth, the only character who notices the ghost, is startled and outraged, thus bringing dismal and suspicion to the Banquet.

Macbeth's actions are later discussed by the lord and Lenox, who discover Macbeth's appalling behavior, and eventually contribute the downfall of Macbeth. The antagonist in the story, Macduff, is exposed by the witches as a threat, causing Macbeth to assign a task to criminals in order to, "Seize upon Fife; Give to the edge o' the sword his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his live."( )Macbeth's rampant killing, which he is unable to halt, leaves Macduff in sorrow and grief. Wanting revenge, Macduff kills Macbeth and restores order to Scotland. unquestionably, Macbeth's rampage of murder, that was incapable of being altered, has left him dead.

With one error leading to another, Macbeth's strong desire for success, the influence from the witches, and his turmoil of murder, is above all proven to bring Macbeth to his downfall. Macbeths awful actions, that he was unable to alter, compel deepest consequence leading to his atrophy.

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