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The Danger Of Ambition And Nobility In Macbeth

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In the play Macbeth written by William Shakespeare, the main character has traits of a tragic hero throughout the play. Macbeth has ambition and nobility at the beginning of the play, so that is why he is a tragic hero. Macbeth’s ambition takes over him throughout the play because his actions are based on his fate given to him by three witches. His ambition to become King and follow the prophecies cause Macbeth to succumb to evil. Macbeth’s noble qualities because he earned King’s Duncan trust by fighting with courage for his country. Strength and honor are seen in Macbeth when fighting, and some compassion is shown when he hesitates to kill the King he so bravely fought for. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, ambition and nobility are the traits of a tragic hero seen in Macbeth.

Mabeth’s trait of ambition makes him a tragic hero because it controls him eventually leading to his downfall. To be king, Macbeth’s ambition takes over causing the death of King Duncan. After visiting the three witches, he realizes that he will fulfill their prophecies by taking over Duncan’s throne. Ambition gets the best of Macbeth: “This supernatural soliciting Cannot be ill; cannot be good; if ill, Why hath it given me earnest success, Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor: If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose image doth unfix my hair?”(I,III, 140-145). Macbeth’s true colors are shown after he says that in the play because it shows how he will choose evil to get what he wants. He soon notices ambition changes him for the worst : “To prick the sides of my intent/ but only/ vaulting ambition, which develops itself/ and falls on the other.”(I, VII, 26-28). Macbeth recognizes he is a different person due to his ambition, but it does not stop him from continuing on with the prophecies. After Macbeth kills Duncan, it leads to him committing more crimes by planning the death of Banquo and Macduff’s family. Instead of being a noble king, Macbeth rules as a tyrant due to his ambition blocking him from seeing all the evil deeds he has committed. To protect his kingship, he kills anyone who threatens his plans without hesitation. Macbeth is obsessed with the witches and their prophecies. His obsession makes him ignore the possibility that he could lose his army and that MacDuff will get help from King Edward. He does not realize that the odds are not in his favor because he is so caught up in being the most powerful. Because Macbeth was so fixated on the prophecies, his ambition for power eventually leads him to death. The effect of his ambition is seen in the play when he acts as if nothing has happened when Lady Macbeth dies. He does not even show sorrow for her because his main priority is the prophecies, and her death was an inconvenience to him. His mind is so far gone because his ambition has taken over. Death does not phase Macbeth because he does not care about the value of a human life anymore. When he committed all of those murders, and when the people closest to him die, he does not care because he is so focused on himself. Macbeth’s ambition also takes over when Macbeth goes to fight against Malcolm and his army. Macbeth’s tyrant-like tendencies control him: “Thou wast born of women./ But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn,/ Brandish’d by man that’s of a woman born”(V.VII.16-18). His good reputation is completely gone at this point in the play because he shows the people how he will do anything to better his life. Macbeth does not care how much blood is on his sword, as long as the witches’ prophecies are fulfilled. His trait of ambition leads him to fear nothing, and he shows that nothing can get in his way. Ambition makes Macbeth believe he can defeat Macduff’s army that does not compare to his. He loses his sense of reasoning and believes he is almighty. Because of this, he kills anyone and fights anyone who messes with his plan. The blood of Siward was on Macbeth’s hands: “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff;/ Beware the Thane of Fife.” (IV. I. 77-78). The witches influence the way Macbeth rules, and his actions are based on the fate they give him. Macbeth’s ambition shows that he has a lack of control over his own life because he lets three witches decide his fate. He easily could have turned away from the prophecies, but he chose to let others take charge over his life. His death follows soon after because he is obsessed with what others have planned for his life and what they think. Macbeth’s tragic flaw of ambition ultimately leads him to his downfall because his ambition takes over his conscience.

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Macbeth is a tragic hero because of his nobility trait that is displayed in the beginning of the story. His nobleness shows that Macbeth is not always evil, and that he does show some signs of good in him. Before the prophecies, Macbeth is a nobleman due to his courageous leadership in battle. Because of his strength and power, the army has many victories. He is one of the leaders of Duncan’s army: ‘But all’s too weak:/For brave Macbeth — well he deserves that name – /Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,/Which smoked with bloody execution,/Like valor’s minion carved out his passage/Till he faced the slave;'(I.II.17-22). The quote shows that people think highly of Macbeth before his mind gets filled with witches and prophecies. Because of Macbeth’s importance, he becomes a tragic hero. He is needed in the army, and he is working his way up to prove his courage. He soon becomes power hungry, but as seen in the start of the play he is a man with great honor. Macbeth’s execution in war exemplifies his nobility: ‘Cannons overcharged with double cracks, so they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe’ (I.II.41-42). Macbeth moves up positions in Duncan’s army because Duncan sees his potential and loyalty. Some of his nobleness is still left when he hesitates to kill King Duncan, so this proves that he has not completely succumbed to evil. He stops to think about what he is about to do because the King trusts him to lead his army, and he knows that this will destroy his reputation. Macbeth describes the murder of Duncan as a ‘ horrible deed’. Macbeth is not noble at this point, but there is still some nobility seen because he thinks about how horrible his actions are. During his battle with Macduff, Macbeth’s old nobility and courage comes back. He displays some of his past traits by explaining that he does not want to kill Macduff. Even though Macbeth will not surrender, Macbeth admits that he does not want any bloodshed because he has already killed Macduff’s family. A nobleman at birth is the trait of a tragic hero, and these are just some of the many reasons why Macbeth shows nobility before the prophecies.

Macbeth’s ambition and nobility are traits that make him a tragic hero in Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. The tragic hero trait of ambition causes Macbeth to spiral downhill because of his obsession with the prophecies. He cannot decide his own life choices, so he bases his life off of the fate three witches have given him. To become King and all powerful, the once noble general of an army commits many murders. Macbeth is known for his tragic hero trait of nobility at the start of the play because he courageously fights for his country. Macbeth shows some of his nobility even throughout the play when he stops to think about what the right decision is before he kills King Duncan. The traits seen in characters can ultimately lead them to death making them tragic heroes.

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The Danger Of Ambition And Nobility In Macbeth. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 3, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-danger-of-ambition-and-nobility-in-macbeth/
“The Danger Of Ambition And Nobility In Macbeth.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-danger-of-ambition-and-nobility-in-macbeth/
The Danger Of Ambition And Nobility In Macbeth. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-danger-of-ambition-and-nobility-in-macbeth/> [Accessed 3 Oct. 2022].
The Danger Of Ambition And Nobility In Macbeth [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Feb 17 [cited 2022 Oct 3]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-danger-of-ambition-and-nobility-in-macbeth/
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