powmac Macbeth: His Downfall Was Due to His Ambition for Power

powmac Macbeth: His Downfall Was Due to His Ambition for Power

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Macbeth: His Downfall Was Due to His Ambition for Power


In the Shakespearean novel Macbeth, the protagonist Macbeth is caught in a

down spiral induced by his ambition which in the end, was the cause of his

tragic end. Macbeth, once a great hero falls victim of his ambition for

power. Although the protagonist initially tries to resist his human urge,

he in the end committed crime his country, his friends, and sadly himself.


Macbeth's first great crime was the crime against his country. In

the beginning, Macbeth was described by his fellow noblemen as a great,

loyal soldier, giving all he has for his country. Soon, it becomes evident

when the witches foretells Macbeth future: "All hail, Macbeth! That shalt

be king hereafter" (I. iii. 53) that Macbeth will be destined for greatness

but not in the way he thinks. After receiving the three prophecies, Macbeth

is intrigue by the idea the he will be king hereafter. He soon shows his

intention to carry out the prophecies in his aside: "The prince of

Cumberland! that is a step on which I must fall down, or else o'er-leap,

for in my way it lies" (I. iv. 55-57). With the help of his wife, Lady

Macbeth, Macbeth was able to kill the Duncan, the king of Scotland, a man

whom trusted and loved Macbeth. With Duncan dead and the two princes

fleeing, Macbeth was crowned king of Scotland. In the end, Macbeth had

fulfilled his prophecies but in doing, he had committed treason against his

country. Macbeth's second great crime was committed against his friends,

the people around him whom use to admire him. After he had been crowned

king, Macbeth believed his greatest obstacle had been overcame but that

assumption was far the truth. By committing the first great crime, Macbeth

had unconsciously paved the way for his downfall. Perhaps the turning point

of the novel in which Macbeth kills Banquo; his loyal friend, that

Macbeth's character begins to deteriorate.  In one of his aside: "The very

firstling of my heart shall be the firstling of my hand" (IV. i. 161-162)

Macbeth's mental deterioration becomes visible. This aside is crucial

because it foreshadows the future events to come. Macbeth now seems to have

not a shred of decency or guilt left in him. Because of his irrational

thinking, Macbeth commits probably the worst crime he had every committed.

Macbeth had his Macduff's family slaughtered. This crime was so horrendous

because unlike Macbeth's prior murders, this one had no other purpose but

to quench Macbeth hatred of his rival Macduff. It soon became clear that

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Macbeth's plans were not working out as he had planned. His destiny now

lies in the hands of those he had committed crimes against, his former



Macbeth's final great crime was the crime against himself. Macbeth

throughout the play was struggling with his inner conflict. On one hand,

Macbeth's ambition influenced him to strive for power and on other hand,

his moral sense was trying to resist the urges. Nevertheless, like any

tragedy, Macbeth fell victim of his ambition. In his quest for power,

Macbeth abandons his moral sense. What is worse was that others suffered

because of his inner conflict. As the play progress, Macbeth loses control

of himself. It is ironic that Macbeth's quest for power and happiness would

leave him weak and alone. Macbeth expresses his loneliness and regret in

his final soliloquy:


To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, creeps in this pretty

pace from day to day, to the syllable of recorded time; and all our

yesterday have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief

candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets

his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more: it is a tale told by an

idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. (V. v. 21-30)


Macbeth now realized his tragic flaw. Nevertheless, like the warrior he

once was, Macbeth would not surrender to his enemies. In the end, Macbeth

was slain.


In conclusion, Macbeth's punishment was fitting for his crime. In

his quest for power, Macbeth did everything necessary to obtain his goal

but in doing so, isolated himself from the world. With the death of his

wife, Macbeth realizes his isolation and crime but he also knew it is too

late to redeem himself. In the end, Macbeth did all that he could but died

in the hands of the people whom he committed great crimes against, his

country, his friends, and himself.

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