‘Ambition can creep as well as soar.’-Edmund Burk. In Macbeth’s case, it sent him creeping down a dark path filled with greed and hunger. His ambition motivated him to do foul actions in order to achieve a prophecy presented by deceitful witches. Because he was blinded by his own ambition to become King, he made wicked decisions. He, himself, lost his sense of loyalty and morals.
The witches’ prophesized that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor and eventually the king. In addition, his friend, Banquo, will never become king, but his kin will become kings. The prophecy, I believe, served as alcohol to Macbeth. Giving him “liquid courage” or awakening the greediness that has been implanted in Macbeth all alone. After he has received the title of Thane of Cawdor like the witches’ prophesized, immediately his mind is engulfed by dangerous ambition.
“My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical,
Shakes so my single state of man
That function is smother’d in surmise,
and nothing is but what is not.”
Macbeth’s own thoughts haunt him. His soliloquy shows insight in his devious ways without the help of his wife or the witches. His wife, Lady Macbeth, possesses the same murderous ambition as her husband. However, she’s considered the planner of the scheme of killing King Duncan. The idea of killing King Duncan was just a mere thought conjured up by Macbeth. His wife encourages what he realizes on his own, the only way to fulfill the prophecy is to assassinate the King.
“ I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself
And falls on the other.”
Macbeth reveals to his wife that his intentions to kill King Duncan are unnecessary, but his impatience for power sees this as his only choice. Macbeth spirals down a path that leads to nowhere, but destruction. He kills King Duncan. Because of his paranoia that he might get caught, his morals only come back for a gleam second. Drowning in guilt and hunger for hierarchy, Macbeth kills to cover his own tracks. These are the actions Macbeth followed through by himself.
Once Macbeth becomes King, he orders murderers to kill Banquo and his son to maintain the power he wrongfully received. Macbeth’s lust of power sees Banquo’s prophecy of his sons being Kings as a threat.
“ Our fears in Banquo
Stick deep, and in his royalty of nature
Reigns that which would be fear’d.”
Greediness and override of ambition gave power to Macbeth to carryout horrendous orders. Macbeth’s ambition, words, and insatiable desire to become powerful pushed himself to go through extremely sinister lengths. Unfortunately, he realizes it too late.
“Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold
Thou hast no speculation in those eyes”
His remorse and guilt isn’t wanted by Macduff who kills him.
Macbeth is the one to blame for the violence in Macbeth. He was possessed by his own ambition to obtain power. He could have resisted the witches’ prophecies and made choices that went against them, but he decided not to. His weakness is apparent throughout the entire play. Because of his own insecurities and lack of loyalty, he brings about his own downfall and became the antagonist to his own fate.