Macbeth: Ambition

Ambition and power were two qualities that, collectively, did not bring about Macbeth’s downfall. Macbeth most definitely had a thirst for power, his ambition was strong and ruthless and the world inevitably reciprocated such ruthlessness. Although he had that thirst, it was never quenched, power never did befall Macbeth. Instead of the power and ambition destroying him, it was instead his conscience creating such a fear of absolute power that clashed with his ambition to create such an extravagant surcease.

Ambition took a hold of Macbeth, such that he was willing to hurt anyone in his quest for power and suffer the consequences. Macbeth begins the play as a loyal soldier, bearing witness to the epitome of loyalty towards the king in all of the soldiers that fought in his name. Loyalty and admiration towards but a single man is all that Macbeth had to give, he believed that “the rest is labour which is not us’d for [Duncan]”. This was his strong conviction, until the witches present him with the opportunity to “receive [his subjects] duties”. Lady Macbeth made herself the voice of this ambition by justifying it; Shakespeare used her to represent Macbeth’s own desire to have “[sole] sovereign sway and masterdom.” When he acted upon this ambition by killing Duncan, he sowed the seeds of his own destruction. He insighted the mistrust of Malcolm, who was the one to lead the army which eradicated Macbeth’s grasp on the throne. Ambition was one of the contributing factors which led to Macbeth’s consequence.

Power is something that Macbeth desired deeply, but he never did end up securing it. When Duncan had absolute power, he used such power for the benefit of his people, by protecting his nation from an invading force and indicatively other decisive acts that won the support of his subjects. Macbeth himself never had the power that Duncan did insofar as he never used it. Decisions concerning his people were non-existent, instead his decisions were largely selfish,...