The Corrupting Power of Ambition in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

The Corrupting Power of Ambition in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

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The vigorous desire to achieve and willingly attain something holds the capability to greatly affect one's life. William Shakespeare's play Macbeth establishes the immense effect and influence of ambition. After gaining power over his country Scotland, the protagonist, Macbeth, experiences an internal downfall as he battles between his wants and moral judgement. He struggles to maintain stable relationships with others as his selfish desires and goals hurt those around him when achieved. In addition to clashing with himself and others, he is seen as a tyrant leader and is slowly turned against by Scotland's nation as well as England. Shakespeare's play Macbeth provides the reader with a clear understanding of ambition's corrupting power in Shakespeare's tragic character Macbeth, through his inner conflicts, struggle to maintain stable relationships with those surrounding him, and clash with society.

To begin, Macbeth experiences an internal downfall due to his ambition where he battle between his desires and moralistic values. Initially, the idea of attaining power over Scotland by killing King Duncan sparks a sense of fear and paranoia in Macbeth, however, his conscience struggles to take over his ambition: "that we but teach/ Bloody instructions, which being taught, return/ To plague the inventor. [...] I have no spur/ To prick the sides of my intent, but only/ Valuing ambition, which o'erleaps itself/ And falls on th' other-" (1.7.8-28). At this moment, Macbeth contemplates on killing King Duncan as he visualizes the long term consequences of committing the crime. The reader can grasp his moral judgement as he understands that by proceeding with the murder, he is only causing his own demise and punishing himself. With that b...


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...'s state with Scotland and England.

Through himself, the relationships he creates and destroys, and the deterioration of nations, Macbeth's character proves the power of ambition and its ability to corrupt one's life. Macbeth realizes that his motivation is his ambition is stronger than his will to act upon what is morally just, mentally deteriorating him inside. Furthermore, his ambition not only affects himself, however destroys his relationships with those around him as his selfish goals hurt others when achieved. At last, his tyrannous manner developed from his ambitious goals corrupts Scotland, the country he leads, as well as his connection with other countries. When one is driven by a want, happiness is attained through achieving this goal; but by willingly choosing to put forth desires before moral judgement, ambition holds the power to corrupt one's life.

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