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In The Play Macbeth By Shakespeare, It Is Macbeth's "Vaulting Ambition" That Causes His Downfall. Discuss.

748 words - 3 pages

Shakespeare's play Macbeth follows the tragic downfall of a great man. Macbeth was once thought of as “noble” and “valiant” but by the end of the play, a “dead butcher”. The murder of King Duncan marks the beginning of Macbeth's downfall. This is more a result of Macbeth's vaulting ambition than his belief in the supernatural. However, it is Macbeth's belief in the supernatural that makes him continue on the path to downfall and ultimately lose all his honourable qualities.In Macbeth the witches symbolise the supernatural. The “weird sisters” evoke Macbeth's ambition; they know how Macbeth will react to their prophecies so they toy with him and deceive him by saying one thing but meaning another. The witches have no conscience; they cause mischief on purpose and enjoy it. The witches provide the foundation for Macbeth's downfall by telling him that he “shalt be king hereafter.” When Macbeth hears the witches' prophecies, “horrible imaginings” are opened in his mind. Unlike Banquo who dismisses the witches' prophecies, Macbeth contemplates regicide. The witches plant “the seed” to Macbeth's downfall. He wants the witches to “stay, you imperfect speakers. Tell me more.” This shows that Macbeth believes in the idea that he can be king, and that he perhaps has thought about regicide before.Lady Macbeth is also a large contributing factor to the regicide. If Lady Macbeth was not behind Macbeth plotting the death of King Duncan and manipulating Macbeth into doing “The deed”, none of the deaths would have occurred, therefore there would be no downfall for Macbeth. Macbeth believes that “if chance will have me king, why chance may crown me without my stir”, whereas after Lady Macbeth reads the letter Macbeth sends to her, without hesitation, she thinks of regicide. Lady Macbeth knows that Macbeth is “too full o'th'milk of human kindness” and that she will have to persuade him. Despite Macbeth wanting to “proceed no further of this business”, Lady Macbeth convinces him by questioning his pride, “but screw your courage to the sticking-places”, and saying that only “when you durst do it, then you were a man.” Lady Macbeth sees her femininity as an obstacle towards achieving her ambition, so she calls...

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