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The Nature Of Ambition Essay

1230 words - 5 pages

In Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the downfall of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were both caused by their strong desire to be rulers. When the witches first told Macbeth about his future rule, he did not believe them completely. However, he soon accepted the idea and was ecstatic. Both him and Lady Macbeth wanted to become the king and queen as soon as possible. They both became obsessed with their power, and whenever Macbeth would question if he was doing the right thing, Lady Macbeth would know exactly what to say to convince him to do what she wants. Initially, Macbeth was noble and would only fight for his country, but in the end he is destroyed by his excessive ambition which ...view middle of the document...

There are also other times where Lady Macbeth is driving her ambition onto Macbeth. Like during the time where she was worried that Macbeth was lacking the ruthlessness he needed to kill Duncan, since he wanted to postpone the date. She decided to take things on to her own hands and tell him to “beguile the time, / Look like the time. Bear welcome in your eye, / Your hand, your tongue. Look like th' innocent / flower, / But be the serpent under ’t” (1.5.74-8). She wants him to appear the way they expect him too. Lady Macbeth wants him to put on a completely new character since others can usually tell his emotions. The serpent is often associated with sneaky, evil things and obviously the flower being associated with being harmless and innocent. All she wants to do is exploit nature to help her. Lady Macbeth is her own serpent that may look sweet to others, but in reality, she is trying to convince Macbeth to murder the king.

The couple’s over ambition triggers a series of deaths due to their guilt since their ambitions tell them that it is okay to kill to get what they want. In fact, Lady Macbeth asked evil spirits to “make thick my blood. / Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse, / That no compunctious visitings of nature / Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between / The effect and it” (1.5.50-5). She is asking the spirits to make herself completely evil and to take away her humanity. Blood thickens whenever there is an infection, so she is asking for her blood to be contaminated and thickened so they block the way to her heart, the “passage to remorse.” She once again mentions the “visitings of nature” which is how it’s natural to feel remorse and guilt. So that is why Lady Macbeth is asking these spirits to make sure that these feelings of guilt would not be left with her. She wanted to stop these feelings before they ever started. However, Macbeth contemplates at random points the reasons why it is bad to kill Duncan instead. One reason he had was that he was aiming too high and that he has “no spur / To prick the sides of [his] intent, but only / Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself / And falls on the other” (1.7.25-8). Macbeth is saying that he doesn’t have anything to truly motivate him. He only has a strong desire that, just like a rider that is trying to mount a horse, aimed too far. Even he knows that he is using so much...

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