The Role Of Ambition In Macbeth

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William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a tragic play that details the rise and fall of King Macbeth of Scotland. The impetus for the play’s dark progression, along with the source of Macbeth’s status as a tragic figure almost seem as if Macbeth is controlled by fate. In reality, however, Macbeth is not inevitably controlled by fate despite influences such as the witches and Lady Macbeth pushing him towards murder and evil. Rather, he freely chooses to let fateful factors influence him to murder and then chooses to keep on murdering. Thus, Macbeth’s own guilt, conflicting thought, and his self-realizing ambition show that it is ambition and not fate that determined the course of his tragic downfall.
While some may consider the witches foretelling
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After murdering Duncan, Macbeth says to himself: “What hands are here? Ha, They pluck out mine eyes! / Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather” (2.3.62-64). Macbeth has come to acknowledge that his guilt can never be washed off, even if the blood can easily be washed from his hands. Instead, his guilt will bring bitterness to the world around him, which he compares to an ocean. He also begins to hallucinate and imagines hands plucking out his eyes in retribution for the murder of Duncan. Such hyperbolic guilt only arises from a conscious evil, which cannot have come from a deed that is fated, but rather one that is led by his unwavering determination to be …show more content…
After Macbeth’s rise to the throne, he clearly acted in his own conscience to grasp on to the power he held as king. The murder of Banquo exemplifies how Macbeth independently and willfully descends to evil. Macbeth recalls the witches’ prophecy that Banquo should be king, saying: “They hailed him father to a line of kings. / Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, / And put a barren scepter in my grip” (3.1.60-63). Fearing the truth of this prophecy, Macbeth calls upon murderers to kill Banquo. While the witches’ prior prophecy hinted that Banquo’s entire family heralded Macbeth’s downfall, the second batch of predictions singled out only Macduff as the chief enemy saying: “Beware / Macduff, / Beware the Thane of Fife” (4.1.69-71). Macbeth’s consequent murder of Macduff’s family shows an act completely motivated by ambition and uninspired by the witches’ apparition. Macduff is forced to eliminate Macbeth from the throne and avenge his family’s pointless death saying: “Bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself. / Within my sword’s length set him” (4.3.233-234). In so doing, actions created by Macbeth alone set the path to his own tragedy and if Macbeth’s own action led to his beheading, then fate had nothing to do with

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