Tragedy of ambition is indeed at the very heart of, and is the very
essence of Macbeth. While other themes flow through the text and
contribute to the downfall of Macbeth, ambition remains the fueling
desire that plagues Macbeth throughout the duration of the play. In
tragedy, the responder views the fall of a hero, and the events
causing this descent. The text is focused on Macbeth's main flaw,
ambition, or the desire to achieve his goals and dreams, as the cause
of his tragedy. His ambition was to become king, and this is central
to the text, although his ruin was also due to circumstance, including
the encouragement given to him by the witches and Lady Macbeth.
Therefore, while the decline of Macbeth is due to a combination of
factors, it is his desire to become king that leads him to treason,
murder, despair, and ultimately, his own demise. This is shown using
various techniques, which include: soliloquies, hubris, dialogue,
paradox, conflict and dramatic irony.
In the text, we are first presented with the idea that Macbeth has the
potential to be more than he already is through the witches. By
calling him Thane of Cawdor, and informing him that he "shalt be king
hereafter," they serve to strengthen the desire that already exists in
his heart. When he is actually given the title of Thane of Cawdor, he
begins to believe that the witches may be indeed speaking the truth.
However, the witches did not place the idea of murder in Macbeth's
mind, but it is he who first plans Duncan's murder, as seen by the
quote from his soliloquy "Present fears are less than horrible
imaginings. My ...
... middle of paper ...
...him. "Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and
tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day to the last
syllable of recorded time; and all our yesterdays have lighted fools
the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle, life's but a walking
shadow â€¦ It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Although ambition isn't the only factor that causes Macbeth to meet
his ruin, all of the other aspects stem from his desires. The witches'
prophesies only serve to strengthen his resolve, as they all seem to
point to the fact that he will be King. Lady Macbeth's ambition is
added to his own to create a greater desire to achieve his wants.
Conflicts were fought, and through all of Macbeth's battles, whether
be it internal or external, ambition always won in the end. Macbeth is
a tragedy of ambition.
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