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"Macbeth's ambition caused him to commit the crimes - Nobody else influenced him" - Discuss.

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Introduction

"Macbeth's ambition caused him to commit the crimes. Nobody else influenced him." Discuss. Throughout the play Macbeth commits a number of crimes. This is due to a number of reasons; some when other characters in the play influenced him, however they are only reflecting his own secret desires, and some when his "ambition caused him to commit the crimes". Macbeth is first perceived as courageous, strong and a good general. He is co-leader of Duncan's army along with Banquo. He is described as "brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name" and "Noble Macbeth" and even "Bellona's bridegroom" - a fit husband for the Roman goddess of war. All hold him in high regard. He is rewarded with the title of Thane of Cawdor, although Macbeth is unaware of this yet. In Act 1, Scene 3, the three witches meet with Macbeth for the first time, whilst Banquo accompanied him. He is initially shocked by their appearance and is stunned by their prophecies that he will become Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland. "Second witch: All hail, Macbeth! Thane of Cawdor! Third witch: All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be king hereafter!" Macbeth questions their prophecies but the witches vanish. ...read more.

Middle

little knowing that he would have to commit more murders. After Macbeth has killed Duncan in his sleep, he immediately becomes lost in terrifying guilt. He is unable to say the word "Amen" and is in such a state that he is unable to return the dagger to plant it on the drugged guards to implicate them in the murder. At this stage, Macbeth is not hardened to his crimes. Macbeth soon realises that if the guards are questioned, he may become a suspect and his murder of Duncan will have been in vain - his ambition to be king would not be realised and he quickly kills the guards. His ambition therefore has driven him onto two other murders. He pretends that he killed them because "The expedition of my violent love Outrun the pauser reason." Shortly after this Macbeth achieves his ambition to become king. Some time later, Macbeth decides that because the witches predictions have so far come true, he wants to prevent the prediction of Banquo's children becoming kings and plans to do this by killing Banquo and Fleance. ...read more.

Conclusion

Even when he discovers from Macduff how false the prophecies were, "Though Birnan Wood be come to Dunsinane And thou opposed, being of no woman born," his courage does not falter, taking on fate as well as Macduff - "Yet I will try the last." Ambition is the fundamental theme in this play because it is the driving force of Macbeth's life. His main weakness is ambition. Macbeth himself admits when he is attempting to resist the murder of Duncan: "I have no spur...but only Vaulting ambition which o'erleaps itself" - this is the only argument that overrules his troubled conscience. Whilst the influence of the witches and Lady Macbeth strengthen any decision of Macbeth's to commit murder, they are only able to succeed in this because his ambition is already present within him. Macbeth is a hero, but it is his ambition that leads the witches to Macbeth - they did not have the same effect on Banquo. Once Macbeth has finally decided to kill Duncan, he is determined to overcome all further obstacles in the way of him realising his ambition. Through allowing his ambition to suppress his good qualities he becomes a "tyrant" a "dwarfish thief" and a "hellhound". ...read more.

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