Ambition In Macbeth By William Shakespeare

1285 words - 5 pages

Ambition in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

At the start of the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth appear to be very
happy; it seems that they have everything they need, Macbeth was the
Thane of Glamis, and they had a good relationship. The catalyst for
the change between Macbeth and his wife occurs when Macbeth is told of
his destiny by the three Witches; he now believes he is capable of
greater things. Once he becomes the Thane of Cawdor he tells Lady
Macbeth and the seed is sown for the plot against the King. Macbeth
realises that the king has to be removed in order for him to obtain
the throne but it is Lady Macbeth who plots how this is going to
happen and ultimately is the driving force. It is clear that Macbeth
and Lady Macbeth have the greed to want more and would go to desperate
measures to get what they want.

When Macbeth first met the witches he was clearly not amused and chose
to make nothing of their predictions, ‘to be king stands not within
prospect of belief’. He says here that he does not believe he could
become king, but as he arrives at Duncan’s palace at Forres he is
informed of his new role as Thane of Cawdor this sets him off on a new
state of thinking. If the Witches told the truth about him becoming
Thane of Cawdor, then maybe it was possible for him to become king. He
then has the original thought of killing the king only for his benefit
so that he could take the throne.

Macbeth is the sole starter of the plot, he realises that it may be a
long time until the King would die and this poisons his brain as to
thinking that if he murdered the king this could speed up the whole
process. He has the intentions but does not believe he could carry
them out, ‘I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only
vaulting ambition, which o’er-leaps itself and falls on the other. He
likens it to a horse that tries to jump over a fence which is too high
and falls over the other side, meaning that he has the intentions but
he isn’t sure whether he can act them out.

Lady Macbeth has no doubt that has the necessary strength to commit
the treason as she says ‘I would, while it [baby] was smiling in my
face, have plucked my nipple from its boneless gum, and dash’d the
brains out….’ This shows that if she promised to kill her own baby she
would do it, so Macbeth can not have second doubts about killing the

Macbeth starts to think that maybe it is a bad idea, as he is Duncan’s
loyal subject and it would be wrong to murder him ‘Commends
th’ingredience of our poisoned chalice. To our own lips. He’s here in
double trust’ this shows that he is not sure about killing the King,
he says that the king is there believing that only good will come of
their meeting. Macbeth also thinks about how it would be if the tables
were turned and they had to drink out of their own...

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