Ambition is often the driving force in one’s life. It can have an extremely dominant impact on not only yourself, but also many people in your surroundings. You have the ability to control if the outcomes either have a lasting negative or positive effect. When a goal requires determination and hard work to complete, personal morals often take a back seat to the aspiration of accomplishing the goal. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, it is clear that like many other great leaders, Macbeth exemplifies the necessary leadership virtue of ambition.
Macbeth’s ambition does not just drive him to do great things. It in fact controls him. The playwright explores the idea of how an individual’s ambition can cause them to deceive others, make irrational decisions, and cause internal turmoil. Ambition, along with the influence of his wife, Lady Macbeth, causes Macbeth to deceive his peers in order to attain position as king. The first time the reader sees Macbeth’s ambition causing him to be deceitful, is when him and his wife invite the current King of Scotland into their home for a dinner, with the soul intent of killing him.
After receiving news of Macbeth’s new honor, she holds greater ambitions for Macbeth and pushes him to the edge to achieve the personal goals that she has set for him. To achieve the main goal of becoming king, Macbeth must deceive Duncan in way that will allow him to take over the throne. He must do this by taking action when “The bell invites [him]. Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell. That summons thee to heaven or to hell. ” (Act II, scene i) This visibly demonstrates how Macbeth deceived his friend into trusting him, when clearly his wife and he had different intentions all along.
This proves how an individual’s ambition has the capability to consume ones personal morals and values for the worse. The impacting role of ambition in Macbeth’s life also causes him to make quick, remorseful, irrational decisions. One of these decisions that he made was hiring murderers to execute Banquo. Macbeth believes in the witches prophesy that Banquo will be the father of a king, making Fleance, Banquo’s son, a definite threat to Macbeth’s current position as king. He wants to carry on his legacy as ruler of Scotland, so it appears to him that he has no other options but to eliminate his opposition.
Caught up in the moment and his recently developed ambition drove him to do whatever it takes to stay in power. Macbeth realizes that “It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood” (Act III, scene iv), but what he is unaware of is his guilty conscience that is slowly beginning to creep over himself. Due to his thrill to kill and illogical decision making, Macbeth begins to have second thoughts about his actions. These decisions cause a great disturbance and uncertainty for Macbeth, soon c Macbeth’s ambitious drive to become king causes him to have internal conflicts.
These issues have been forced upon him by his wife, and have fully consumed his mind and led him to hallucinate. Internal turmoil-ghost, dagger. A strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. Desire and determination to achieve success Desire, aspiration, ambition In Macbeth, ambition is presented as a dangerous quality. It causes the downfall of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and triggers a series of deaths in Macbeth. Ambition is therefore the driving force of the play.
Macbeth’s ambition is driven by a number of factors including: Prophesy: The Macbeth witches prophesize that Macbeth will become King. Macbeth believes them and the various prophesies are realized throughout the play. However, it is unclear whether these prophesies are preordained or self fulfilling. Lady Macbeth: his wife is the driving force that encourages Macbeth to overcome his strong sense of guilt and take action on the prophesies. Macbeth’s ambition soon spirals out of control and forces him to murder again and again to cover up his previous wrongdoings.
Macbeth’s first victims are the Chamberlains who are blamed and killed by Macbeth for the murder of King Duncan. Banquo’s murder soon follows once Macbeth fears that the truth could be exposed. Ambition is often the driving force in one’s life. It is supposed to be the motivating factor that drives one towards success. Society also deems ambition a necessary quality of their leader. It can be said that Macbeth exhibits this quality of ambition. He is the strong, valiant warrior who has won in battle and brought victory to Scotland.
However, Macbeth’s quest to acquire more power-his ambition-ultimately leads to his tragic demise. How can one allow himself to be destroyed by such a thing? Before Duncan’s murder, Macbeth questions and second guesses his ambitious tendencies and actions. Despite his anxiety, he succumbs to these tendencies and finds himself in an increasingly precarious situation, with his back against the wall and growing ever closer to his almost inevitable end. It is obvious that Macbeth has ambition, as most people who are in power do.
In fact, ambition is often a necessary quality of people in such high standing as Macbeth is. However, Macbeth’s ambition does not just drive him to do great things. It in fact controls him Through all these things, one can clearly see that Macbeth is headed on a path for disaster; a path started, and forcefully driven, by his ambition. His ambition drove him to kill Duncan so he could acquire the throne. His ambition then drove him to order the murders of Banquo and Fleance. Through that process alone, one could say that Macbeth’s ambition did lead to his downfall.
However, even more disastrous than the external consequences of his ambition were his internal consequences. Macbeth’s ambition was constantly putting him in a struggle between right and wrong. Macbeth finally lost this battle, and succumbed to the evil side of his ambition. Being the successful, proud, and noble warrior that he was, maybe this loss of what was good inside of him was the root of Macbeth’s insanity. One will never know, but it can be said that Macbeth’s ambition, whether through his actions or through his own internal degradation, did ultimately lead to his demise.