Blind Ambition In Macbeth Essay Topic
Blind Ambition In Macbeth Essay
Among the greatest gifts that the renaissance produced was the eloquent and incredible Shakespearean plays. Written mostly in the 1590s these plays have been performed and admired countless times; entertaining mass audiences by providing interesting tales that explore the depth of human insights and the different universal themes. Among the many Shakespearean plays Macbeth, written in 1606, stands out with its short composition but multiple themes. This tragedy narrates the tale of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s quest to grasp ultimate power by ignoring their morals and succumbing to their dark desires, which ultimately leads to their downfall. This tragic play portrays the desires, needs, and temptations that accompany ambition in men and women. However the ambition in Macbeth is blind, it does not abide to the morals, but it allows space for dark actions as means necessary for accomplishment. Blind ambition serves as the main driving force that drives Macbeth to subdue to his dark desires, defy his noble behavior, and ultimately his downfall.
Macbeth’s blind ambition leads him to surrender to his dark desires that taunt him throughout the play. Macbeth is frequently tempted to result to the wrongful methods that seem to roam inside of him. In the beginning however Macbeth tends to ignore these desires and depends on chance. He declares “if chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, without my stir” (Shakespeare, act 1, scene 3, 143-144). This declaration by Macbeth shows his initial stand, which is reliant on fate and sin free. Yet as Macbeth’s character develops throughout the play, he moves farther from his dependence on chance and closer to his darker desires. Eventually his blind ambition to become king overpowers him and leads him to result to his dark desires. Macbeth states:
The prince of Cumberland! That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erlap
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires… (Shakespeare, Act 1, scene 4, 49-51).
In this quote Macbeth admits the dark desires he possesses, and reveals his intentions to overcome the king’s son after he plans to kill King Duncan himself. As a result of his powerful blind ambition, Macbeth at this point of the play succumbs to his dark desires and takes the route to breaking his noble behavior.
Macbeth is initially portrayed as a noble character with noble origins, but eventually as a result of his blind ambition he breaks his noble behavior. King Duncan refers to Macbeth at the beginning of the play as “valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman” (Shakespeare, act 1, scene 2, 24). This statement by King Duncan as a result of Macbeth’s war accomplishments proves the nobility that Macbeth possessed. Although Macbeth is portrayed as a noble character at the beginning of the play as his blind ambition takes over he ultimately breaks his noble behavior. He first kills King Duncan, a...
Loading: Checking Spelling0%
Driving Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay1458 words - 6 pages Ambition can be defined as the desire and willingness to strive towards achievement or distinction. On the contrary, driving ambition is the outright desire to achieve a certain goal, regardless of any possible consequences. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, driving ambition caused Macbeth and his wife to murder King Duncan because of their desire for power. In an attempt to retain his power Macbeth also murdered Banquo and Macduff’s family. ...
Destructive Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay1736 words - 7 pages Destructive Ambition in Macbeth William Shakespeare's tragic play Macbeth presents the fizzled drive of an ambitious husband and wife. This essay is the story of their destructive ambition. Fanny Kemble in "Lady Macbeth" refers to the ambition of Lady Macbeth: [. . .] to have seen Banquo's ghost at the banqueting table ... and persisted in her fierce mocking of her husband's terror would have been impossible to...
The Tragedy of Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth1207 words - 5 pages The Tragedy of Ambition in Macbeth Shakespeare's tragic play, Macbeth, shares common themes with many other stories and actual events. Many scandals, both historic and current, can be linked to greed, ambition, and abuse of power. Typically, the key figures are motivated by, and are inevitably destroyed by, ambition. This is also the case in Macbeth, where ambition leads to the downfall of the once great character, Macbeth. ...
The theme of ambition in Macbeth721 words - 3 pages A key theme in William Shakespeare's Macbeth is ambition. Ambition finds its most significant expressions in the plays two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. It is also in the lesser characters of Macduff and Malcolm. The catalyst for Macbeth's ambition is the witches...
Ambition Portrayed in Macbeth and The Crucible1277 words - 5 pages The Emanation of Over Aspiration In the myth of Icarus, the renowned artisan Daedalus and his son Icarus defied the gods in an act of hubris by flying, defying their mortal limits. Daedalus and his son flew with the aid of improvised wings composed of feathers and wax. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too low or too high or else the wings would be drenched by the waves or the wax would be melted by the sun. However young Icarus, filled with...
Deception, Seduction and Ambition in Shakespeare’s Macbeth2900 words - 12 pages Thesis: Deception, seduction, and ambition are a lethal combination. Shakespeare’s Macbeth establishes this concept early on. Ambition is the motivational thrust that most often gives momentum as one tries to achieve success. However, without the occasional tune-up, Macbeth demonstrates how unchecked ambition can quickly become a speeding, out-of-control, vehicle that ultimately leads to destruction. ...
Corruption of Unchecked Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth1284 words - 5 pages The Corrupting Power of Unchecked Ambition The main theme of Macbeth-the destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints-finds its most powerful expression in the play's two main characters. Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement. He kills Duncan against his better judgment and afterward stews in guilt and paranoia. Toward...
Ambition in Macbeth by William Shakespeare1285 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...
The Influence of Ambition in Macbeth by William Shakespeare996 words - 4 pages Everybody in their mind has some type of ambition that can influence them in the wrong way. There is good and bad ambition. Like Cesar Chavez once said that “ We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community... Our ambitions must be broad enough to include the aspirations and needs of others, for their sakes and for our own.” Macbeth’s ambition is change by the perspective of many things. The...
Ambition and Power as the Dominant Theme in Shakespeare’s Macbeth1957 words - 8 pages In Macbeth, the dominant theme would be ambition and power. This theme presents itself as a dangerous quality. Ambition is extremely dangerous in this play because this leads to the downfall of both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth and triggers a series of deaths. Therefore ambition and power are the driving forces of this play. Power is also the dominant theme of this play because most of the people that are in the play are power-hungry such as Lady...
The Corrupting Power of Ambition in William Shakespeare's Macbeth1536 words - 6 pages The vigorous desire to achieve and willingly attain something holds the capability to greatly affect one's life. William Shakespeare's play Macbeth establishes the immense effect and influence of ambition. After gaining power over his country Scotland, the protagonist, Macbeth, experiences an internal downfall as he battles between his wants and moral judgement. He struggles to maintain stable relationships with others as his selfish desires and...
Blind Ambition in MacbethGet Your
Starting at Just $13.90 a page
Throughout the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the reasoning of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is completely subverted and undermined by their insatiable ambition. Macbeth was at first reasonable enough to keep his ambition in check, however it eventually became to strong for even Macbeth and therefor over powered him. To the contrary, Lady Macbeth was overcome by her ambition from the very beginning. Reasoning was abandoned after the decision to kill Duncan was made.
At that point we see no serious questioning of the motives of the three witches when they told their cunning and misleading predictions. Macbeth even went as far as to ask for their advise a second time – this second time would of course lead to his downfall. The decision to kill Duncan also signified the last serious attempt at moral contemplation on the part of Macbeth. Throughout the novel we see that the Macbeth’s ambition completely subverted their reasoning abilities and eventually lead to their downfall.
Macbeth, whom initially was a very reasonable and moral man, could not hold off the lure of ambition. This idea is stated in the following passage: “One of the most significant reasons for the enduring critical interest in Macbeth’s character is that he represents humankind’s universal propensity to temptation and sin. Macbeth’s excessive ambition motivates him to murder Duncan, and once the evil act is accomplished, he sets into motion a series of sinister events that ultimately lead to his downfall. ” (Scott; 236).
Macbeth is told by three witches, in a seemingly random and isolated area, that he will become Thank of Cawdor and eventually king. Only before his ambition overpowers his reasoning does he question their motives. One place this questioning takes place is in the following passage: “- Two Truths are told, As happy Prologues to the swelling Act Of the Imperial Theme. – I thank you, Gentlemen. – This supernatural Soliciting Cannot be Ill, cannot be good. If Ill, Why hath it given me Earnest of Success, Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor.
If Good, why do I yield to tat Suggestion Whose Horrid Image doth unfix my Heir And make my seated Heart knock at my Ribs Against the use of Nature? ” (Shakespeare; I, iii, 125-135) Even as he questions their motives, he does not come to the logical assumption that these three evildoers are in fact pushing him down a path filled with evil and despair. He says that their visit “cannot be ill, cannot be good” and goes on to explain why it cannot be either of these two things. At least we see here that his ambition has not completely overtaken him.
Not only does Macbeth at first question the motives of the witches, he also eventually questions the moral implications of killing Duncan. In the excerpt: “He’s here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of his taking-off. (Shakespeare; I, vii, 12-16) We see Macbeth present an argument against killing his beloved king. We see that his ambition is present because he does seem to be ready to refute the title of King and in fact accepts the title of Thane of Cawdor. The expert: “- If Chance will have me King. Why/ Chance may crown me. (Shakespeare; I, iii, 141-142)” is an excellent example of Macbeth’s ambition. However his ambition is not overbearing, because he still considers the meaning of the supernatural soliciting instead of just accepting its seemingly optimistic prophesies.
His ambition does not become overbearing until it is fueled by Lady Macbeth’s own ambition. Macbeth’s ambition is in sharp contrast to Banquo. Banquo comes across as much more hesitant to accept the witches prophesy. This contrast was created for a specific reason – to highlight Macbeth’s tragic flaw. “One critical perspective views Banquo’s function as essentially symbolic: he is portrayed as a man who, like Macbeth, has the capacity for both God’s grace and sin; but unlike the protagonist, he puts little stock in the Weird Sisters, prophecies and does not succumb to their temptations.
Banquo’s reluctance to dwell on the witchs’ predictions therefore underscores, by contrast, the nature of Macbeth’s descent into evil. ” (Scott; 238) Banquo does not have the same overbearing ambition as Macbeth and therefor is able to reason with the situation. Banquo’s logic is most prevalently seen in the following quote: “That trusted home Might yet enkindle you unto the Crown Besides the Thane of Cawdor, But ’tis Strange: And oftentimes, to win us to our Harm. The Instruments of Darkness tell us Truths, Win us with honest Trifles, to betray’s In deepest Consequence Cousins, a Word, I pray you. ” (Shakespeare; I, iii, 118-124) Banquo speaks this quote immediately after Macbeth is told that he will be the new Thane of Cawdor. It is a stark warning that shows evidence of logical deduction and reasonable thinking on the part of Banquo. Had he been a far more ambitious man, he may have worried about his own prophecy – about the future glory of his children and their children. Not only was Macbeth overtaken by his ambition, Lady Macbeth was also overtaken. Unlike Macbeth, however, Lady Macbeth was overtaken by her ambition immediately.
As she read the letter sent to her by Macbeth, which spoke of the new title and the witches prophecies she immediately decided that they must do whatever is necessary to become King and Queen. Again we see that ambition subverts reasoning. She does not even question the motives of these three evil sisters or the moral ramifications of killing Duncan like Macbeth does. Instead she almost immediately decides that Duncan has to be dealt with. This break down in reasoning was very damaging to both Macbeth and his wife. Here we see what an adverse affect it had on Lady Macbeth. As husband and wife grow apart in their own torments, Lady Macbeth discovers what it is to invite an ‘unsexing’ which amounts to demonic possession: the slight human compunction which prevents her murdering Duncan grows into a curse upon her unwomaned body, and she finds that ‘a little water’ will not clear her of this deed” (Blakemore; 1310) In conclusion, throughout the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the reasoning of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is completely subverted and undermined by their insatiable ambition.
Macbeth was at first reasonable enough to keep his ambition in check, however it eventually became to strong for even Macbeth and over powered him. To the contrary, Lady Macbeth was overcome by her ambition from the very beginning. Reasoning was abandoned after the decision to kill Duncan was made. At that point we see no serious questioning of the motives of the three witches when they told their cunning and misleading predictions. Macbeth even went as far as to ask for their advise a second time – this second time would of course lead to his downfall.
Do you like
this material?Get help to write a similar one
The decision to kill Duncan also signified the last serious attempt at moral contemplation on the part of Macbeth. Throughout the novel we see that the Macbeth’s ambition completely subverted their reasoning abilities and eventually lead to their downfall. Bibliography 1. Blakemore Evans, G. (Editor). The Riverside Shakespeare. 1974. Houghton Miffin Company. Boston, Massatsus. 2. Scott, Mark W. (Editor). Shakespeare for Students. 1992. Gale Research Inc. Detroit, Michigan. 3. Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. 1990. Doubleday Book and Music Clubs, Inc. Great Britain
Author: Kimber Trivett
Blind Ambition in Macbeth
We have so large base of authors that we can prepare a unique summary of any book. Don't believe? Check it!
How fast would you like to get it?