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Essay on Ambition Determines the Fate of Characters in Shakespeare's MacBeth

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Ambition Determines the Fate of Characters in Shakespeare's MacBeth


What a person craves for herself often determines her fate. The ambition of three characters in the play MacBeth was a key factor in the outcome of their fate, MacBeth's ambition for the throne of Scotland, Lady Macbeth's ambition for her husband to have power, and Banquo's lack of ambition for himself. These intentions all determined the fate of these characters, as well as the outcome of the play.

Being named Thane of Cawdor after absorbing the three witches prophesies prompted MacBeth's sole ambition to have the throne of Scotland for himself. MacBeth is somewhat uneasy to the fact that he feels that he wants fate alone to hand him the throne, rather than killing Duncan himself to inherit it. (If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, without my stir. Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 154-156) MacBeth contemplates the idea of killing Duncan even as he is saluting Duncan at Duncan's palace. MacBeth's urge to exterminate Duncan increases when Duncan names Malcolm the Prince of Cumberland, the heir to the Scottish throne. MacBeth's ambition strengthens because he pleads to the stars (his destiny) to make his plan a reality. (Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires: The eye wink at the hand! yet let that be, which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. Act 1, Scene 4, Lines 57-60) During the banquet held at Macbeth's castle at Inverness in honour of Duncan, MacBeth's ambition changes. He contemplates his wicked plan of executing Duncan and arrives at the conclusion of not allowing his plan to fall through. Lady MacBeth scorns MacBeth when she hears of his change of plans. She becomes successful in altering his ambition. MacB...


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...e name of truth, Are ye fantastical, or that indeed which outwardly show? My noble partner You greet with present grace and great prediction of noble having, and of royal hope, That he seems rapt withal; to me you speak not: If you can look into the seeds of time, And say which grain will grow and which will not, Speak to me, who neither not by fear Your favours nor your hate. Act 1, Scene 3, Lines 54-64) Banquo was skeptical of the witches prophesy, thus prohibiting their spell to penetrate his soul, leaving him pure. Banquo's ambitions were honest.

These three characters all had ambitions which led the way to their fate. MacBeth's and Lady MacBeth's greedy ambitions led them to failure, while on the other hand, Banquo's pure ambitions led him to victory despite his ruthless murder. Banquo's heirs will have the throne of Scotland, and Banquo died an honest man.


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