Ambition In Macbeth

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The previous president of the United States of America, Warren Harding, once said, “Ambition is a commendable attribute, without which no man succeeds. Only inconsiderate ambition imperils.” In other words, if a person wants to succeed, they need the ambition, or desire, to succeed. This is not only necessary, but desirable. But, if a person’s ambition makes them blind to everything else, it could put them at great risk. This quotation is true because it is proven through William Shakespeare’s story, Macbeth. Through the use of characterization, Shakespeare provides three different characters, Malcolm, Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth, to show that ambition is necessary to succeed but is also disastrous if a person ignores everything else. Firstly,…show more content…
Shakespeare characterizes Macbeth with ambition, just like Malcolm. Yet, in contrast, Macbeth’s ambition is blind and causes him to fall into peril, unlike Malcolm. The first time the witches greet Macbeth, they call him by prophesied names, all of which are shown to come true. Thus, when they call up apparitions to speak to Macbeth again, one would think they should be taken as truth. While Macbeth does take the apparitions as true, he ignores the first one completely and takes the others as reassurances instead of the warnings that they are. Macbeth’s ambition to rule Scotland and have his blood continue the linage makes him blind to things around him, like the witches’ apparitions. “Bring me no more reports. Let them fly all. / Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane / I cannot taint with fear. What’s the boy Malcolm? / Was he not born of woman? The spirits that know / All mortal consequences have pronounced me thus: / ‘Fear not, Macbeth. No man that’s born of woman / Shall e’er have power upon thee.’ Then fly, false thanes, / And mingle with the English epicures. / The mind I sway by and the heart I bear / Shall never sag with doubt nor shake with fear” (Shakespeare 169). This quotation shows how Macbeth’s ambition has made him blind to the reality behind the apparitions and instead takes them at face value. In turn, this causes Macbeth to fall into peril as the…show more content…
Shakespeare characterizes Lady Macbeth in this way. At first, Lady Macbeth has ambition that allows her to succeed with her plans, to allow Macbeth what he is due. Notwithstanding, Lady Macbeth’s ambition slowly turns blind and consumes her, leading her to peril. “Sit, worthy friends. My lord is often thus / And hath been from his youth. Pray you, keep seat. / The fit is momentary; upon a thought / He will be well. If much you note him / You shall offend him and extent his passion. / Feed and regard him not” (Shakespeare 103). This quotation shows how at first, Lady Macbeth’s ambition not only persuaded Macbeth to become king, but also still allows her to think clearly and cover for Macbeth’s mishaps. But, Lady Macbeth’s ambition changes into a blind one. “Out, damned spot, out I say! One. Two. Why then, ‘tis time to do’t. Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier and afeared?” (Shakespeare 163). This quotation shows how Lady Macbeth’s ambition has turned blind, corrupting her thoughts and binding her heart, consuming her. What was once successful and necessary ambition, turned blind. It consumed Lady Macbeth slowly, leading her to tragedy when she finally took her own life to end it

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