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MacBeths Ambition Essay, Research Paper

The thematic importance of ambition is revealed throughout MacBeth in a manner that is not always instantly visually evident to a conscientious reader. Although it is responsible for MacBeth?s rise to power, his ?vaulting ambition? is also to blame for MacBeth?s tragic downfall. MacBeth would not have been able to achieve his power as King of Scotland, or have been able to carry out his evil deeds, if it was not for his ambition. In these instances, ambition helped MacBeth achieve his goals to a certain subdued degree. Consequently, however, MacBeth’s ambition has another face and is what leads him to his disastrous fall from grace. Had he not been fixated with becoming King and remaining powerful, he would not have continued to kill innocent people in order to keep his position. In due course, MacBeth?s removal from power is attributable to these killings, along with his over bearing attitude.

MacBeth, at the beginning of the play, seems to be an exceptionally noble person. He is characterized as being vastly loyal and honorable. He courageously and victoriously fights a battle for his country and this establishes a strong sense of his loyalty. MacBeth is later appointed Thane of Cawdor, which, once more, proves that he is honorable in the eyes of royalty. However, the instant the witches spark ambition in him, using their prophecies, he is no longer trustworthy because his mind fills with evil and deceit. Even before he reaches his home, thoughts of murder creep into his head and he is overcome with the desire to be powerful. In the following quotation, MacBeth admits, metaphorically, that it is only his ambition that prompts him. ?I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o?erleaps itself and falls on the other? (I, 7, 25 ff). At this point in the play, Macbeth’s unruly ambition begins to become apparent. A seed of evil has bloomed into a flower of defiance and MacBeth has reached a point of no return. MacBeth becomes bloodthirsty and power stricken, forcing him further and further into a web of ambition from which he is unable to detach.

MacBeth’s ambition is the fuel that ignites his fire to become fierce and eventually gather the nerve to kill Duncan. This murder is performed in the dark of night and by MacBeth’s own blood-spattered hands. At this point, MacBeth makes a subconscious decision to construct his future on his own by overcoming any further obstacles that may fall in his way. As soon as he developes the trait of ?vaulting ambition?, MacBeth feels he is able to sculpt his life into a figure of his liking and approval.

MacBeth?s ambition leads him to embark on additional feats to protect his crown. He generates wicked plans to kill his friend, Banquo. This is the climax of the play and the peak of MacBeth’s ?vaulting ambition?. Thus far, MacBeth is impaired by his own ambition. He does not hesitate to jump to rash decisions and he is obsessed with reigning as King. He does not realize that his actions are actually leading him to his unfortunate and fatal downfall.

Determination is the motivator that inspires MacBeth to kill innocent people, cause a disorder throughout Scotland, topple a long tradition of governmental control, and die in battle in front of all his enemies. His aspirations could not withstand the mighty forces of evil because of his lack of moral strength. His reason, however, is simple: unguided ambition and emphasis on immoral attainment of power and prestige. The reader is left to conclude that there must be something poignant missing in MacBeth?s life. Whether or not he lacks love, devotion, honour, or trust, the result of these shortcomings is catastrophic and heartrending. How could a man with such great potential to positively impact the lives of countless lives around him, err in such a way that brings a whole country into disrepute?

?Nothing truly valuable arises from ambition or from a mere sense of duty; it stems rather from love and devotion toward men and toward objective things?.

- Albert Einstein


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