Macbeth Ambition Analysis

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William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, first published in 1606, is an endearing tale outlining the dangers of unchecked ambition and moral betrayal. In the subsequent centuries after first being performed, Macbeths critics have been divided upon whether Macbeth himself was irrevocably evil, or if he was guided by the manipulation and actions of the women in the play to his ultimate demise. Although Lady Macbeth and the witches were influential with their provocations in the opening acts, it is ultimately Macbeth’s inherent immorality and his vaulting ambition, that result in the tragic downfall. It was Macbeth’s desire for power that abolished his loyalty and trustworthiness and led him down a path of murder. It is evident through his actions and words…show more content…
Macbeth knows that killing Duncan is morally wrong as demonstrated in (I, vii, 31-32) where he states, “…we will proceed no further in this business: he hath honour’d me of late”. Yet it is his vaulting ambition that gets the better of him as he shows signs of wanting to kill Duncan. Macbeth says, “The Prince of Cumberland! – That is a step on which I must fall down, or else o’erleap…Stars hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires …” (I, v, 49 – 52). The words ‘black and deep desires’ relate to Macbeth’s evil desire and the vaulting ambition is shown to be present in him. This first sign of Macbeth’s evil nature is shown in this scene as he is slowly beginning to open up and show the real man he is. Macbeth further reinforces his evil nature as he acts surprised and outraged after Duncan’s death (II, iii, 107 – 109). Macbeth instead of listening to his conscience, he suppresses his guilt and continues with his…show more content…
This proves his vaulting ambition and how it had taken over Macbeth. Macbeth continues to murder Banquo and does so out of fear of losing the throne. This is evident in (III, i, 47 – 50) where Macbeth says “…To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus. – Our fears in Banquo stick deep, and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be fear’d…” this demonstrates Macbeths fear and the threat he faces. Macbeth says that Banquo’s royalty of nature should be feared, through this we are able to understand that Macbeth is evidently lost his grasp on his moral conscience and begins to take down any threat he sees, even if that threat is his best friend. Macbeth goes on to refer to Banquo as his enemy and although he could kill him himself, he fears to offend mutual friend they may have (III, i, 115 – 120). Macbeth then orchestrates the murder of Banquo and Fleance showing no remorse. Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that she should appear innocent and act nicely as to not draw any suspicion to themselves. “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, till thou applaud the deed…” (III, ii, 46 – 47). Although Macbeth still refers to Lady Macbeth as his dearest chuck he has planned the murder by himself and without any help, demonstrating his inherent evil nature. Macbeth’s quest for power not only ends his life, but he continues the murders due to malice. When Macbeth plans to murder the
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