Essay by forever890High School, 11th gradeB, January 2014

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From Ambition to Insanity

By: Sahar Mann

Ambition is defined as a strong desire to do or achieve something.

Yet if one is overly ambitious, they become obsessed with their goal and

do everything in their strength to protect it. When ambition is used to

gain power it is abused and corrupted, causing destruction in one's

mind and the natural order. William Shakespeare explores the concept

of unchecked ambition in his play Macbeth which reveals power thirsty

humans as they overuse ambition, sacrifice lives to protect their power,

and at the end suffer extreme consequences.

Macbeth's uncontrollable ambition to gain power began with a

prophecy given to him by the witches. The prophecy "All hail, Macbeth,

that shalt be king. . . ." (1.3.50) Unlocks his lust for this grand title. Given

this prophecy, Macbeth feels entitled to the position of the king of

Scotland. However, when Duncan appoints Malcolm Prince of

Cumberland, Macbeth begins to have "black and deep desires."


He must overcome this choice made by Duncan, and immediately

Macbeth thinks of murder to obtain the role of king. Yet Lady Macbeth

fears Macbeth ". . .is too full o' th' milk of human kindness. . . ." (1.5.17)

to act on these dark thoughts. Instead she asks spirits to

"Stop up th' access and passage to remorse,

That no compunctious visitings of nature

Shake my fell purpose. . . ." (1.5.44-46)

Lady Macbeth asks nature to take away her emotions so she can

perform cruel deeds to achieve the power she is striving for without

feeling any guilt towards her actions. The great lust for power held by

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth leads them to act recklessly towards their


Once Macbeth and Lady Macbeth gain the power they desired,

they continued their sadistic...