Macbeth Tragism


Macbeth Tragism
Macbeth's vaulting ambition, though it is what brings him to his height of
power, it is also what leads him to his downfall. Vaulting Ambition is Macbeth's
only flaw; it disables him to achieve his utmost goals and forces him to face
his fate. Without this ambition, though, Macbeth never would have been able to
achieve his power as King of Scotland or have been able to carry out his evil
deeds. In these instances, ambition helped Macbeth do what he wanted to do. But,
consequently, Macbeth's ambition has another face and is what leads him to his
tragic downfall. Had he not been so enveloped with becoming King and remaining
powerful, he would not have continued to kill innocent people in order to keep
his position. It was because of these killings and his overbearing attitude that
caused him to be overthrown and killed himself. Macbeth, at the beginning of the
play seems to be a very noble person. He is characterized as being very loyal
and honorable. He fights in the battle against Norway which proves his loyalty,
then he is appointed Thane of Cawdor which proves that he is honorable in the
eyes of royalty. However, as soon as the witches spark ambition in him, he is no
longer trustworthy and becomes evil and deceiving. Even before he reaches his
home, thoughts of murder creep into his head and he is overcome with the desire
to be powerful. The prince of Cumberland: that is a step on which I must not
fall down, or else o¡¦erleap, for in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires,
let not light see my black and deep desires, the eye wink at the hand. Yet let
that be, which the eye fears when it is done to see (Shakespeare 21). At this
point in the play, Macbeth's ambition starts to come into view. The seed has
been planted, and there is no turning back. Macbeth becomes bloodthirsty and
powerstricken forcing himself further and further into a web of ambition from
which he is unable to detatch himself. Macbeth's ambition is what allowed him to
become powerful. Without ambition, it is impossible to achieve goals. Therefore,
ambition is what allowed Macbeth to overcome his obstacles and come closer to
his final goals. As soon as he developed the trait of vaulting ambition, Macbeth
is able to make his life fall into place exactly the way he wants it to. He
first murders Duncan so that he will become king. Macbeth's ambition is directly
the cause of this tragic incident. This murder is in cold evil blood by

Macbeth's own hand; at this point he starts seeking his future on his own and
will overcome any obstacles in his way. Then, Macbeth ventures on even farther
to protect his crown. He proceeds in his evil plans by killing Banquo. This is
the climax of the play as well as the height of Macbeth's vualting ambition.

Macbeth, up to this point, is almost drunk with his own power and ambition. He
does not even hesitate to make rash decisions. He is obsessed with reigning as
king, but does not realize that what he is doing to make himself more powerful
is actually leading him to a tragic and fatal downfall."Ruthless seeking
after power by Macbeth, urged on by his wife, is the tragic flaw that causes his
downfall" (Shakespeare, Themes 162). First of all, he resorts to spying on

Macduff and makes the rash decision to seize his castle. "Seize upon Fife,
give to th'edge o'th'sword His wife, his babes, and all infortunate souls that
trace him in his line" (Shakespeare 107). This causes Macbeth to seem
tyrannical and results in more people turning against him. He is only interested
in himself and his power, but does not even take into consideration that his
actions are causing him to be less powerful. Macbeth, while trying to stay
powerful, also becomes paranoid. He never feels like he is at his height of
power, and therefore feels like others were out to take his power away from him.

Macbeth, then goes to whatever lengths he can to stay powerful. He murders
numerous people which causes King Edward of England to organize troops to
overthrow him. Anything that happens to Macbeth is traced back to his vaulting
ambition. This ambition is to be blamed for his great power, as well as his
downfall. Macbeth¡¦s entire character is an example of this quote by

Shakespeare: "The heavens themselves, the planets and

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