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IB MYP Essay on Macbeth and Unchecked ambition

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Unchecked ambition and its tragic downfall Ambition is more often than not, can be described as the common downfall for those who seek power. In the play "Macbeth", written by William Shakespeare, Macbeth the main character of the play, changes from a good hearted person to a downright greedy and evil man due to unchecked ambition. Another character in the play that ends her life tragically because of ambition is Lady Macbeth. These two characters go through a change as play progresses and their change can be attributed to ambition. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is portrayed as a loyal Thane to King Duncan but in the end he becomes greedy and ignorant. When Macbeth reports his successful assignment in Cawdor to the King and when King Duncan praises and promotes him, Macbeth replies "The service and loyalty I owe, in doing it, pays itself." (1.5.22-23)Here we can see that Macbeth is a very loyal servant to King Duncan and respects him greatly. The way his personality is described in this scene makes Macbeth out to be the person least likely to murder King Duncan. ...read more.


This is very unlike Macbeth in the beginning in the play as in the beginning Macbeth was unwilling to kill King Duncan but now he becomes a man of action. Macbeth is now willing to do whatever it takes to keep his position of King for himself and his future children. He is no longer self righteous or loyal instead is greedy, lust for power and loses his sense of morals all for the price of power. Another character who is affected by ambition is Lady Macbeth. In the beginning of the play, Lady Macbeth is greedy and lusts for power. Although we never actually see Lady Macbeth before she chanced upon a sign to seize power, we still can see a change of her behavior from the time she reads the letter to the time she convinces Macbeth to commit murder. In Act 1 Scene 5, after Lady Macbeth reads the letter sent to her form Macbeth, she takes it as a sign to kill King Duncan. ...read more.


Instead, due to her mental decline, she sleepwalks and repeats tasks and actions that happen during the night of the murder such as washing her hands. Also when sleep talking; Lady Macbeth also unknowingly starts confessing to the murder of King Duncan. Here we can see how her lust for power and unchecked ambition leads to her downfall and due to her guilt and remorse she commits suicide ending in a tragic death. Here, we can see how ambition can cause a change in people. In Macbeth's case, his lust for power and unchecked ambition led to his sudden change of personality and eventually his tragic death in the end. While in Lady Macbeth's case, ambition did not affect her personality; it affected her mental state which eventually lead to her tragic downfall in the end. In conclusion, whether unchecked ambition causes a change for worse in one's personality or a decline in one's mental health, unchecked ambition more often than not leads to a lust for power which in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's case caused a tragic downfall. (956 words) Referencing: Shakespeare, W. (1980) Macbeth. New York, New York. Bantam Dell ...read more.

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