Ambition Vs Reasoning In Macbeth Essay Research

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Ambition Vs. Reasoning In Macbeth Essay, Research Paper Throughout the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, the reasoning of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is completely subverted and undermined by their insatiable ambition. Macbeth was at first reasonable enough to keep his ambition in check, however it eventually became to strong for even Macbeth and therefor over powered him. To the contrary, Lady Macbeth was overcome by her ambition from the very beginning. Reasoning was abandoned after the decision to kill Duncan was made. At that point we see no serious questioning of the motives of the three witches when they told their cunning and misleading predictions. Macbeth even went as far as to ask for their advise a second time – this second time would of course lead to his

downfall. The decision to kill Duncan also signified the last serious attempt at moral contemplation on the part of Macbeth. Throughout the novel we see that the Macbeth’s ambition completely subverted their reasoning abilities and eventually lead to their downfall. Macbeth, whom initially was a very reasonable and moral man, could not hold off the lure of ambition. This idea is stated in the following passage: “One of the most significant reasons for the enduring critical interest in Macbeth’s character is that he represents humankind’s universal propensity to temptation and sin. Macbeth’s excessive ambition motivates him to murder Duncan, and once the evil act is accomplished, he sets into motion a series of sinister events that ultimately lead to his downfall.”

(Scott; 236). Macbeth is told by three witches, in a seemingly random and isolated area, that he will become Thank of Cawdor and eventually king. Only before his ambition overpowers his reasoning does he question their motives. One place this questioning takes place is in the following passage: “- Two Truths are told, As happy Prologues to the swelling Act Of the Imperial Theme. – I thank you, Gentlemen. - This supernatural Soliciting Cannot be Ill, cannot be good. If Ill, Why hath it given me Earnest of Success, Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor. If Good, why do I yield to tat Suggestion Whose Horrid Image doth unfix my Heir And make my seated Heart knock at my Ribs Against the use of Nature?” (Shakespeare; I, iii, 125-135) Even as he questions their motives, he

does not come to the logical assumption that these three evildoers are in fact pushing him down a path filled with evil and despair. He says that their visit “cannot be ill, cannot be good” and goes on to explain why it cannot be either of these two things. At least we see here that his ambition has not completely overtaken him. Not only does Macbeth at first question the motives of the witches, he also eventually questions the moral implications of killing Duncan. In the excerpt: “He’s here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself. Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that

his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of his taking-off.” (Shakespeare; I, vii, 12-16) We see Macbeth present an argument against killing his beloved king. We see that his ambition is present because he does seem to be ready to refute the title of King and in fact accepts the title of Thane of Cawdor. The expert: “- If Chance will have me King. Why/ Chance may crown me. (Shakespeare; I, iii, 141-142)” is an excellent example of Macbeth’s ambition. However his ambition is not overbearing, because he still considers the meaning of the supernatural soliciting instead of just accepting its seemingly optimistic prophesies. His ambition does not become overbearing until it is fueled by Lady Macbeth’s own ambition. Macbeth’s ambition