Man Versus Self, Man, and World: The Corrupting Power of Ambition in Macbeth

Man Versus Self, Man, and World: The Corrupting Power of Ambition in Macbeth

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The vigorous desire to achieve a goal holds the capability of having a great affect in 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 battle as he fights between his ambition and conscience. He also destroys stable relationships with others as his selfish goals hurt those around him when achieved. In addition to clashing with himself and others, he is seen as a tyrant leader and is progressively turned against by the nations of Scotland and England. Shakespeare's play Macbeth provides the reader with an understanding of ambition's corrupting power in the tragic character Macbeth, through his inner conflicts, his struggle to maintain stable relationships with those surrounding him, and his clash with society.
To begin, Macbeth experiences an internal downfall where he battles between his desires and moralistic values as a result of his ambition. Initially, the idea of attaining power over Scotland by killing King Duncan sparks a sense of fear and paranoia in Macbeth, however, his conscience fails 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 displays his moral judgement as he understands that by proceeding with the murder, he is only causing his own demise and punishing himself. With that being said, Macbeth realizes that his ambition and desire to obtain power takes over his conscience when he concludes that his motivation for ambition is...


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...orrupting one's life in relation to one’s relationship with society.
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 the motivation of his ambition is stronger than his will to act upon what is morally just, mentally destroying 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, the tyrannous actions that arise from his ambitious goals corrupt Scotland as well as his connection with England. 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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