Macbeth And His Ambition. Essay

1124 words - 4 pages

Ambition in MacbethIn Macbeth, a play set in Scotland, William Shakespeare wrote a tragedy of a man's ambition. In the play, Macbeth is described as a man who has ambitions of becoming king. After the first part of the prophecy by the witches whom he has met returning from battle comes true, he begins to think the second part may also come true, "supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, cannot be good." The witches have predicted that Macbeth would first become Thane of Cawdor and then king of Scotland. Encouraged by his wife, Lady Macbeth, he murders King Duncan who stays as a guest in his castle. Macbeth then becomes king of Scotland.According to his critical essay on Macbeth, "Shakespeare and the Hazards of Ambition," Robert N. Watson comments that ambition becomes the enemy of all life, especially that of the ambitious man himself, in this play. In Macbeth, Shakespeare interprets a man's lifelong ambition that seems to be fulfilled, but causes consequences that his mind cannot handle. Macbeth's desire to gain wealth and status completely overpowers him. Macbeth becomes more ambitious as his wife and the witches make him question himself and his desires. Lady Macbeth is the biggest encouragement to his ambition, since she uses her husband's trust to change her own future.In Act I, Scene iii, the witches and their prophecies influence Macbeth's ambition as he begins to consider murdering Duncan, " If good, why do I yield to that suggestion/ whose horrid image doth unfix my hair/ and make my seated heart knock at my ribs,/ against the use of nature?" Macbeth strongly believes witches' words. Also, the apparitions who are called by the witches influence Macbeth by making him believe that he is invincible in Act IV, Scene I, "rebellion's head, rise never, till the wood/ of Birnam rise, and our high- placed Macbeth/ shall live the lease of nature, pay his breath/ to time, and mortal custom."In Act I, Scene v, Lady Macbeth also influences Macbeth's ambition,"Hie thee hither,/ that I may pour my spirits in thine ear,/ and chastise with the valour of my tongue/ all that impedes thee from the golden round,/ which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem/ to have thee crown'd withal." She tries to influence him to kill Duncan. She says, "Art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it," meaning that Macbeth is not without ambition, but lack of ruthlessness that is needed.When Macbeth decides not to continue with their plan to murder Duncan, his wife urges him to act on his desires or he will think of himself as a coward. She says," Art thou afeard/ To be the same in thine own act and valour/ As thou art in desire?" (Act I, Scene iv) She then makes sure he will perform the deed by taking an active role in preparing for the murder: "his two chamberlains/ Will I with wine and wassel so convince," ( Act I, Scene vii) and cleaning up afterwards "give me the daggers: the sleeping, and the dead/ Are but as pictures; 'tis the eye of childhood/ That...

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