In the world today, many businesses fight each other for more money and better deals. To achieve this, they will do anything that it takes to accomplish the job, even if it means putting someone else out of business. These businesses are ruthless and ambitious. Without these traits, businesses can not achieve a higher rank in commerce. These concepts are not new to society. They have been with man since time began. In William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, Macbeth is a perfect example of how being ruthless and excessively ambitious can lead to trouble.
The main character trait that Macbeth possess is ambition. Webster’s dictionary defines ambition as the desire of power. This is exactly what Macbeth craves. Even as the thane of Cawdor, Macbeth aspires to be the king of Scotland. The current king of Scotland is Duncan, a kind and noble king. When Macbeth and Banquo, Macbeth’s friend, are traveling back from battle, they come across three witches. The witches tell Macbeth that he will become king in the future. As Macbeth hears this, he becomes frightened, because he is thinking about killing Duncan in order to become king.
Banquo says, “Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear/ Things that do sound so fair” ( I. iii. 54-55). Because of Macbeth’s ambition he decides to kill the king. After he kills the king and takes the throne, he decides that he is still not satisfied. He remembers that the witches told Macbeth that Banquo’s children will become king someday. Because Macbeth wants to have his offspring inherit the throne, he concludes that he must kill Banquo and his son, Fleance. Macbeth dispatches a few murderers to go and kill Banquo and Fleance while they are horseback riding in the forest.
The murderers succeed in killing Banquo, but Fleance escapes. Even after killing Banquo, Macbeth is still not satisfied. He tells his wife that, “We are yet but young in deed” ( III. iv. 176). Macbeth’s ambition is drawing him to the point that he can never be safe on the throne. He feels that he must know everything. Instead of waiting to let things happen naturally, Macbeth goes in search of the witches, in that they might tell him how to defeat his enemies. Once he knows what he thinks to be the truth, he prepares for battle with England and Norway without a care in the world, only later o be killed.
Because of his own pride and ambition, he dies in battle. Before Macbeth becomes the thane of Cawdor, Macbeth is a warrior in the king’s army. He is ruthless and merciless. While fighting his opponent in battle, Macbeth “unseamed him from nave to th’ chops,/ And fixed his head upon our battlements” ( I. ii. 24-25). That is one of the most gruesome ways to die that I could ever think of. After Macbeth kills Duncan, the rest of Duncan’s subjects try to discover who killed Duncan. To conceal his own actions, Macbeth grabs his sword nd kills Duncan’s guards, whom he claims are the murderers.
Macbeth accomplishes his objectives, and now sits on the throne as king. Does he stop his ruthless behavior? No, in fact, it becomes worse. Macbeth starts to kill people who aren’t even involved with anything. When Macbeth discovers that Macduff has fled to England in a hurry, he tells his plans to his servant: Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls That trace him in his line. No boasting like a fool; This deed I’ll do before this purpose cool.
The last of the three main characteristics of Macbeth is his deceitfulness. He lies to protect himself in situations that could warrant his execution. After the king’s murder, Macbeth slaughters the two guards in order to keep his secret. When Macduff asks why the guards were killed, Macbeth says “Who could refrain/ That gad a heart to love, and in that heart/ Courage to make’s love known” ( II. iii. 136- 137). He says that he loves Duncan so much that he is compelled to murder the guards. This is a poor excuse, but he gets away with it.
Once he is crowned king, Macbeth begins to plan the murder of Banquo and his son Fleance. He hires a few cutthroats and tells them “Both of you/ Know Banquo was your enemy” ( III. i. 129-130). He lies in order to trick the murders into thinking that Banquo is their enemy. Therefore, the murderers kill Banquo while the Macbeth does nothing. Later at the banquet, Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost at the table. Macbeth yells and screams until the ghost disappears. When the guest wonder why he is yelling, Macbeth says that he suffers from a “strange infirmity” ( III. iv. 104).
If he tells the guests what he really saw, they would know that Banquo has been murdered, and Macbeth must be involved. Deceitfulness plays a very big part in Macbeth’s life. By the end of the play, the reader sees how Macbeth’s ruthlessness, ambition, and deceitfulness intertwine together. Macbeth’s traits lead him on a downward spiral that eventually kills him. Macbeth is a classic example of how things are in life, and where people get their motivations from. Everyone needs to be a little ambitious, but not too much. Without ambition, life will never go anywhere new.