The Presence of Ambition within MacBeth by William Shakespeare

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The Presence of Ambition within MacBeth by William Shakespeare

Ambition is a quality within every human, however it sometimes drives people to partake in totally unnatural actions. As illustrated in William Shakespeare's Macbeth, some forms of ambition can push people into becoming a person very sinister and evil. The ambition which Macbeth and Lady Macbeth encounter within Shakespeare's play not only drives them to become ruthless killers, but is the cause of the two characters meeting their demise. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth turn away from the honest and gentle people they once were and instead become "the dead butcher and his fiend-like queen." ( V, sc viii, 69)

The "fiend-like queen" or Lady Macbeth, is first seen in the play just after receiving a letter from her husband. This letter was the start of her demise and first presents the change in Lady Macbeth. Only moments after reading the letter, Lady Macbeth learns that the king himself will be staying with her and Macbeth in their castle that evening. At this time she already begins thinking of Duncan's murder as seen when she comments, "The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan...and fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty." ( I, sc vi, 38-43) At this point she goes to the extent of planning the murder of Duncan and already prepares to assume full responsibility of the murder. During this moment of the play, Macbeth also appears and the influence Lady Macbeth has over him is clearly seen. She refers to Macbeth as a "coward" ( I, sc vii, 43) which in turn shows the ambition Lady Macbeth has for her husband to gain the crown. Clearly Lady Macbeth's words and actions towards Macbeth have the affect she wish...

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... physically yet extremely weak mentally, this is the weakness which causes his downfall. In addition to his mind, it is his never-ending ambition and his blind trust of the witches prophesies which ultimately change Macbeth from what he once was to the monster he had become.

Over the entirety of the play the changes in morals, personality, and confidence within Macbeth and Lady Macbeth can clearly be seen as a result of their ambition for the crown of Scotland. Lady Macbeth, first presented as strong and able to commit murder, eventually went insane due to her guilty conscience and killed herself. Macbeth on the other hand, went from a sincere, conscientious person into a maniacal monster which no one could control. Thus they well deserve the title Malcolm appoints them at the end of the play: "the dead butcher and his fiend-like queen." (V, sc viii, 69)
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