Macbeth's Ambition

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A Tragic Hero Ambition is a good servant, but a poor master and the only way to control ambition, is to have self control. William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, is the tragic tale of Macbeth, a once virtuous man, who when corrupted by power and greed is driven from his status as well respected warrior, to a dishonest, unloyal murderer. Macbeth’s gluttony, pride, and ambitions led him to turn into an unstable, callous man who would stop at nothing just to gain power. His greed to achieve more power resulted in the merciless killings of his king, best friend, and other innocent civilians. His criminal actions lead up to his tragic ending of life, “They have tied me to a stake; I cannot fly, / But bear-like I must fight the course,” (V, vii, 1-4). Macbeth’s…show more content…
Early in the tragedy, Macbeth is introduced as a courageous, valiant solider. Soon after, Macbeth encounters three witches who tell him he will become king, “All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be King hereafter,” (I, iii, 53). It is at this point that he first considers murdering Duncan so that the prophecy can be fulfilled. However, it does not take long for Macbeth to question the matter, “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion,” (I, iii, 144), he says in a state of confusion. Macbeth is Duncan’s kinsman and his subject, and therefore should be constantly striving to protect him. He is also his host, and so should be closing the door in his murderer’s face, not attempting to murder him himself. Macbeth knows in his heart what is right, but is allowing his vaulting ambition to get the better of him. Again Macbeth’s conscience comes into play when he says, “We still have judgement here; that we but teach / Bloody instruction, which being taught return / To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice,” (I, vii, 8-10). He knows what he is doing wrong and that there will be consequences even before he murders Duncan. Macbeth is a weak man however, and ignores his conscience; he instead gives in to his power-hungry wife’s greed and allows his ambition to lead him on a dastardly journey. Although it may seem as though Duncan’s murder was not only Macbeth’s doing, he had a…show more content…
Hecate foreshadowed this when saying, “And you all know security / Is mortals’ chiefest enemy,” (III, v, 32-33). Security, this false sense of it, seemed to cling to Macbeth, and weigh him down throughout the play. Macbeth expresses his confidence and feeling of invincibility when he says, “I will not be afraid of death and bane, / Till Birnam forest come to Dunsinane,” (V, iii, 68-69). The witches’ prophecies only enhanced Macbeth’s false sense of security. He believes that until a wood literally gets up and moves, he is out of harm’s way. He obtains this idea that he is invincible, when in reality he is not. This idea, ultimately leads to his death. More or less the entire country is against him because of the wrongs he has committed, and yet he still has yet to understand the severity of the situation. Macbeth has allowed his false sense of security to cloud his judgement, which is exactly why no one but himself can be blamed for his tragedy. Upon killing Young Siward Macbeth says, “Thou wast born of woman. / But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn, / Brandish’d by man that’s of a woman born,” (V, vii, 16-18). Macbeth’s over-confidence blinds his thinking, and so with the thought that he cannot be harmed by any man of woman born, he overlooks the possibility of a man born of caesarean section, and instead just assumes that he is invincible. This over-confidence and sense of

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