Essay on Ambition as the Root of Macbeth's Downfall

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Ambition as the Root of Macbeth's Downfall

Ambition plays the largest part in Macbeth's downfall. However, without the interference of the witches his ambition would not have changed. The witches increase his ambition drastically by the thought of kingship. Lady Macbeth sees the potential for his ambition to be great, but knows he will do nothing with it, so she plans it all for him; all he has to do is stab Duncan.

The three witches are introduced at the beginning of the play; they give Macbeth three prophecies, that he will be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis and King. The witches can foretell the future; they add temptation and influence Macbeth but they cannot control his destiny. The
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It is dark and full of bad intent.

Lady Macbeth observes the start of this change in him and acts upon it to encourage it since she knows that Macbeth possesses ambition within him, but not the malicious intent necessary for him to become king.

'yet do I fear thy nature/It is to full o'th'milk of human kindness.'

She is selfless, and wants what is best for her husband. However Macbeth is not resolved to go through with the killing of the King. Lady Macbeth manipulates Macbeth's self-esteem by playing on his manliness and his bravery, in order to ensure that he realises the opportunity in front of him.

'when you durst do it, then you were a man. /And to be more than what you were, you would/Be so much more the man.'

This convinces Macbeth to commit regicide, because being one of the bravest men in Scotland, he could not stand being called a coward. He has to prove to his wife that he still is big and masculine. Although Macbeth has the final say in whether or not to go ahead with the initial killing, he loves his wife and wants to make her happy. Lady Macbeth is the dominating person in their relationship. It seems that she can get him to do anything as long as she does it in the right way, like playing on his confidence. However, as the play progresses, and Duncan is killed, Macbeth seems to become the dominating partner.


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