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Ambition: Is The Excess Of It Harmful?

973 words - 4 pages

A tragic flaw is always involved in the demise of an individual. It is this very flaw which contributes the most to the person's downfall. Similarly, Macbeth's downfall was because of his ambition, and due to him pursuing his goals. The witches awakened Macbeth's ambition and Lady Macbeth's manipulating is one of the primary causes for the development of his ambition. The tragic downfall of Macbeth was not determined by one single cause. It was rather caused by a combination of three dark forces: supernatural, external, and internal. But the element that contributed the most was ambition. At first, Macbeth's ambition prevails as a positive trait. An example of that is when he uses this quality to emerge victorious in the battle waged against the traitors and the Norwegians. It is after the witches prophecies that this trait starts to border over the sinister side, as he now uses his ambition to ascend the throne. The third phase of this tragic flaw is when the protagonist starts to kill people, performing these crimes in order to protect or preserve his crown. At first, ambition in Macbeth is present as a quality, a quality due to which Macbeth receives rave references and unbounded respect from others. It is this very trait that helps Macbeth in waging the battle against Macdonwald. The captain, when recounting the events of the fight, says, For brave Macbeth,--well he deserves that name-- Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valor's minion carved out his passage Till he faced the slave; (I,ii,16-20) As a result, even people who weren't present in the clash are commending "Bellona's bridegroom" (I,ii,56). One instance of this is when King Duncan refers to Macbeth as "O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!" (I,ii,24) As the play progresses, this very quality swaps positions as now Macbeth is committing crimes, to acquire the throne, crimes which go against the moral laws. He himself ackonowledges, in the following lines, that excess ambition has caused him to start thinking about committing consequential...


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