Ambition is Responsible for Macbeth's Actions

Essay by rwandco12High School, 11th gradeA+, November 2007

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Ambition is defined, by a dictionary definition, as a strong desire for fame and power. In order to determine if Macbeth’s actions are related to his own ambition it is necessary to define the components of ambition. In order to have an intense desire for something, three components must be present. There has to simply be a desire, wish, or dream, one must have the ability to take action, and lastly doubt and obstacles to the goal must be repressed. According to the aforementioned criteria, ambition is indeed responsible for Macbeth’s actions.

The first characteristic of ambition is desire. An underlying desire for a thing or object must be present from the onset before a goal can be realized. Macbeth showed his desire to be king in numerous situations. When the witches mention Macbeth will eventually be crowned king, he becomes instantly overwhelmed with thoughts of murder and treason. Banquo notices Macbeth’s expression and says, “Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear things that do sound so fair?” (I.iii.54-55).

This illustrates Macbeth’s thoughts were one of fear and apprehension because he knew that in order to become king, the deaths of many will ensue. If Macbeth did not have even a spark of desire for the kingship, the mention of him being king, by the witches, would have been ignored without any thoughts of fear. Another proof that Macbeth had an underlying desire is seen when the second prophecy came true. Macbeth expectedly says, “Glamis, and thane of Cawdor: The greatest is behind” (I.iii.124-125). Macbeth would only get excited that his kingship is still to come if he had an innate desire to be king.

It may seem as if the witches planted the seed in his mind for the desire to become king, however the...