• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is ambition the root of Macbeth's downfall?

Extracts from this document...


Is ambition 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 witches themselves have no particular goal to reach. When it comes to Macbeth they are just having fun. As Hecate argues, all they achieve is: 'How did you dare/ To trade and traffic with Macbeth/ In riddles and affairs of death' The language used here by Hecate is dark and unpleasant, and the way 'death' is used, implies that the witches could have known that their interference would lead to the death of characters. ...read more.


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. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have ambition; Lady Macbeth's ambition drives her to manipulate Macbeth into the most heinous crime of regicide. Most of the crimes committed by Macbeth were planned out beforehand, i.e. the murders of Duncan, Banquo and Macduff's family. Paranoia is another key factor that leads to Macbeth's downfall. Once Macbeth kills for the first time he has no choice but to cover up his wrong doings, and to do this he has to kill again because he is scared, understandably, of getting caught and having to pay for his crimes. Macbeth feels Banquo knows that he became king in an immoral way but also Macbeth knows that it would be 'No son of mine succeeding'. ...read more.


This was followed by the prediction that Banquo's children would become kings, this scared Macbeth. Later when he went back to see the witches he gained some more knowledge, 'Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! beware Macduff; Beware the thane of Fife.'. Now that Macbeth has heard this, he believes that he must kill Macduff, however he learns that Macduff has fled to England, so he decides to kill Macduff's family. Macbeth is told he cannot be killed by any man born of woman. This gives him the confidence that no matter what the English do he will not be defeated. In addition he is told that he will not be defeated until the trees of Birnam Wood move towards his castle. He has put all his faith in these prophecies because he believes what the witches have said must be true because of the outcome of the first prediction. In conclusion, Macbeth has many forces acting upon him, the Witches, Lady Macbeth, paranoia and ambition. However things would not have got so out of control if the others factors had not contributed, so ambition is the main root of Macbeth's downfall. Titus Singh / UVF(A2) English Coursework Macbeth 08/05/2007 Page 1 of 3 ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Macbeth essays

  1. 'This tyrant, whose sole name blisters our tongues, Was once thought honest.' Macbeth IV. ...

    The title quote by one of the king's sons, Malcolm, to Macduff, the thane of Fife, refers to Macbeth as a 'tyrant'. Thus, the other characters in the play see Macbeth as ruthless, cruel and a traitor.

  2. Analyse the rise and fall of Macbeth

    The image of blood also runs throughout the play. Shakespeare uses it as a symbol for the evil that is associated with Macbeth and it is also used as part of the imagery to create a sense of menace and destruction. Much of this imagery and symbolism should be thought of in the religious climate in which the play was written.

  1. Macbeth: Ambition is Root of All Evil

    His actions are only pursued by the persuasiveness of his wife, Lady Macbeth, who is even more ambitious than Macbeth himself. She is so ambitious that she is willing to sacrifice her femininity and all human feelings for her desire for power (I,v).

  2. This essay will thoroughly canvass the main themes of Hamlet and Macbeth, and will ...

    Macbeth plans to murder Duncan, King of the Scots, because of his intense ambition, and Hamlet desires to kill Claudius, King of Denmark, because of his overwhelming need to take revenge of the assassination of his father. Once again, we have arrived to a similarity between these two Shakespeare's plays: THE THEME OF REVENGE.

  1. Through this essay I am hoping that I will be able to comment upon ...

    Following on from this the other witches announce that they will help the first witch, the second witch plans to 'give thee wind" and is thanked while the third witch vows to "give thee more". After this planning the first witch explains to the others what she is going to do to the man.

  2. Macbeth Coursework

    Thunder sounds and a second vision appears-a bloody child. The vision tells him, "Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn. The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth." This means that no man born of a woman can harm Macbeth and this reassures him.

  1. How do the first three scenes foretell the tragedy of Macbeth?

    It also leaves the audience in suspense and traps the audience into the play so that they read or watch it further. The witches themselves are used to foretell the tragedy of Macbeth as in the late 1606s, witches were seen as evil, demonic as well as satanic creatures.

  2. Comparing The Downfall of Man in Macbeth and Moby Dick.

    (Melville 10) This depiction foreshadows that going out to sea can bring no good, and that Ishmael will have the same terrible fate as the Cape-Horner in the painting. It is at the inn that Ishmael meets Queequeg, a savage, whom he eventually befriends.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work