William Shakespeare - Macbeth's Ambition

Essay by HookerKillerHigh School, 10th gradeA-, August 2007

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In 1606 a man named William Shakespeare wrote a play entitled Macbeth; it is known for its tremendous tragedy. The protagonist, Macbeth is born into a high ranking in the Scottish hierarchy only gets higher until his demise. The root of Macbeth's ruin is his uncontainable ambition. His desires take control of his actions and this becomes his tragic flaw. His desire for power restricts his ability to make a knowledgeable choice; he is never satisfied with what he has. His ambitions make him hear only what he wants, and ignore possible dangers. Due to his goals, Macbeth becomes self centered, and neglects the opinions of others, including his wife Lady Macbeth. All these points in Macbeth's character are caused by his ambition which seems to have no boundaries.

Macbeth's desire for power becomes an obsessive trait for him. It prevents him from realizing when to stop. There are several incidents in the play that illustrate this inability.

The first incident is when he is presented with the title of Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth's thoughts skip right over this honor and onto the next level of achievement - becoming King. At this point he understands that the witches have supernatural abilities, and their prophecies have some truth to them. So he focuses on his next available position; King of Scotland. Macbeth does not even understand his ambition himself, it is something that takes him over. He believes that to become King he needs to commit regicide. At one point, Macbeth actually asks himself why he is contemplating killing Duncan to become king:'why do I yield to that suggestion, whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my rib' (Act.1, Sc.3, Ln.134-136).

This quotation shows that the thought of murder is not intentional because...