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Shakespeare's Ambition In Macbeth

Good Essays
One's deepest aspirations and ambitions are one of the many important ideas explored throughout the play Macbeth. Shakespeare uses Macbeth, the central character in the play, as the tragic hero to demonstrate the relationship between one’s weaknesses and desires. In the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the immense character flaws present in Macbeth result in irrational decisions, impeding his greatest aspiration: to rule the throne of Scotland. Though he achieves his desire for a short period of time, illogical actions fueled by Macbeth’s excessive pride, foolishness, and gullibleness all forbid him from honorably ruling his country.

Though the hubris that Macbeth possesses is not revealed early in the play, it dominates many of the
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Macbeth first encounters the witches after his courageous display in battle, and they foretell his future. Though Banquo warns him of the cunning nature of witches who only partially reveal the truth, Macbeth absurdly places all his trust in the devious creatures. The most important prophecy uttered by the witches is “All hail, Macbeth! That shall be king hereafter” (I, i, 53) . The idea of kingship is revealed to Macbeth, and quickly becomes his greatest ambition. Moments after these words declared by the witches, Macbeth begins to think of all the possible ways that he could acquire the throne of Scotland, and murdering the rightful king is one of the first. Due to his gullibleness, Macbeth now has a false expectations for the future and countless irrational thoughts come to mind after his cursed meeting with the weird sisters. Had Macbeth been harder to deceive, he would have never believed in the witches, sparing him of the ambition that could never truly be achieved. Lady Macbeth also uses Macbeth’s greatest flaw to her advantage. After much thought Macbeth decides that it is cruel to kill an honorable righteous king that has done nothing but good for his people and informs Lady Macbeth of his choice. Lady Macbeth, angered at the thought of Macbeth giving up the role of king, manipulates him into killing Duncan. To taunt Macbeth, lady Macbeth questions“ If you weren’t a man, then what kind of animal were you when you first told me you wanted to do this? When you dared to do it, that’s when you were a man. (I vii 53-57). Macbeth, much like many others wants to follow the gender expectations given to men, and his imperfections lead him to believe that honorable men will never go back on their word, no matter how flawed the thoughts are and will stop at nothing for power. Through the senseless
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