Macbeth Fear And Ambition Analysis


An individual’s life can be measured by the decisions they make. These choices may either lead to a life filled with consequential regrets or a life with fulfilled ambitions. Even with risks, however, people still choose to make decisions that may only benefit them temporarily. Although choosing to only be temporarily satisfied, they are content with the outcome of their decisions as long as they are happy. Being temporarily satisfied is especially shown in literature. In the play Macbeth, we are presented with the decisions that give the characters triumph, however, their delight does not last very long and instead just gives them a satisfactory feeling within themselves. In the play Macbeth, William Shakespeare depicts the idea that an individual’s decisions can be influenced by fear, ambition, and power which is shown through the play's protagonist, Macbeth.

When feeling unsafe or unsure about a certain situation, fear habitually kicks in to a person's system. The feeling of being unsafe or unsure oftentimes leads to individuals avoiding the situation to try and ease their anxiety. In the play Macbeth, Macbeth is presented with prophecies that lead him to assume that his place on the throne was not going to last very long. The fear of losing the crown is the reason that Macbeth acts unreasonably towards his friend Banquo and even states: “Our fears in Banquo stick deep, in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared” (III.i.53-54). Macbeth’s decision to be selfish in wanting to keep the crown forever let his fear influence his relationship with his good friend. The irrational fear of Banquo’s prophecy coming true encourages him to be hesitant of his trust towards Banquo. Therefore ruining the friendship they once had since Macbeth no longer trusted Banquo the way he used to. Though not wanting to do wrong to possess the crown, Lady Macbeth looks down on Macbeth for not being able to commit murder and so Macbeth is pressured into committing the crime. Out of fear Macbeth even speaks: “Stars hide your fires: let not lights see my black and deep desires” (I.iv.57-58). Macbeth is scared of the possibility of him being charged of treason. The fear of being caught inhibits Macbeth; he can longer act as his normal self or else he might give away his true intentions of wanting to murder Duncan. The fear that a person experiences becomes very manipulative and causes uneasiness within an individual. The uneasiness Macbeth feels after the murder leaves him to express: “With all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather be multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red” (II.ii.77-80). Fear causes a person's mind to be unreliable and in result causes the person to behave in ways they usually would not. The amount of blood that Macbeth is covered in motivates him to wash his hands very thoroughly. However, because his thinking is no longer trustworthy, he thinks that the water will just turn into blood. The fear of being caught for the murder encourages Macbeth to wash his hands more rigorously than he normally would. Fear becomes a barrier for an individual, making it harder for them to become who they truly are. A person with many fears will do all they can to ease their anxiety. When conquering fears it may take all of an individual's effort. However, with strong determination, they will be able to attain to be as fearless as they desire.

To  accomplish a goal in life, the person must have a strong desire to fulfil their dreams and be willing to work hard for it. Some people’s dreams may seem to be impossible to attain, however, with the right amount of effort and determination, no dream is impossible. Macbeth never had any interest in betraying his king and taking the crown for himself. However, this all changes after the three witches give him the prophecies and announce: “All hail, Macbeth. Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis. All hail, Macbeth. Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis. All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter” (I.iii.50-53). After hearing this prophecy, Macbeth gains an ambition that he never intended to have. With this new ambition Macbeth pushes himself to take actions that go against his own beliefs. Ambition is a force that can lead an individual to achieve success, but it can also be the cause of their downfall. Although having no other reason to murder his cousin Duncan, Macbeth still goes through with the plan and speaks: “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition” (I.vii.25-26). The thought of murdering his own cousin inhibits him. However, because of his ambition to be in possession of the throne, he convinces himself to go through with the murder. Ambition is the reason that Macbeth is encouraged to murder his cousin who was an innocent man. His strong desire to be king has led him to commit actions that will cause great regrets. When Macbeth received his prophecies, Banquo was also there to hear his own prophecies. The outcome of Banquo’s prophecies has Macbeth feeling uneasy because one of Banquo’s prophecies was for him to have a line of kings. This leaves Macbeth doubtful and urges him to say: “To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus” (III.i.52-53). Macbeth is happy to be king, but he does not only want to be king temporarily. He aspires to be the king of Scotland forever, but the fact that he has no hier frustrates him. Killing Duncan already gives him restless nights, and knowing he wont be king forever adds more to his ambition of remaining to be the king. To satisfy his ambition he responds with more violence, and sends murderers to kill both Banquo and Fleance. Depending on what the ambition is, an individual will either come out as a great person, or as a hateful individual. To have ambitions that help an individual become a great person, they must be able to have authority over themselves and understand when to take action. Making sure that their decisions are more beneficial.

Profuse power can lead an individual to believe that they can achieve anything and everything they desire. When Macbeth finally attains ownership of the throne of Scotland, he abuses his power. The power he has over the whole nation gets him to be oblivious and carefree of his actions. The anger Macbeth feels after Macduff betrays him leads Macbeth to the decision of murdering Lady Macduff and their children, even stating: “ Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls That trace him in his line” (IV.i.166-168). The power Macbeth holds is blinding him from his own morals and values. In the beginning he was very scared of committing murder, however, with the power he now posseses, he does not hold back. The authority he holds encourages his actions to be valid because in his mindset, he is king, and nothing is going to stop him. Macbeth’s authority over the nation gives him the power to create insensible choices. The senseless behaviour leads Macbeth to the decision of hiring murderers to assassinate his good friend Banquo. He felt that his time on the throne was being threatened because of the prophecies the witches have given. The murderer is manipulated by Macbeth as he tells him: “Know that it was he in the times past which held you so under fortune, which you thought had been our innocent self ” (III.i.80-84)? He explains to the murderer that it was Banquo that made his life miserable, giving the murderer more motive to kill. The abundance of power Macbeth has is shaping him to be an unjust and careless person. His greed for power encourages his wrongful actions towards other people, and it inhibits him from becoming a better person. At this point he chooses to be ignorant of the fact that his decisions not only affect him, but also the whole nation. As he sits on the throne, Macduff is discussing with Malcom telling him: “Bleed, bleed, poor country. Great tyranny, lay thou thy basis sure For goodness dare not cheque thee. Wear thou thy wrongs; The title is affeered. Fare thee well, lord. I would not be the villain that thou think'st” (IV.iii.36-40). Macbeth is blinded by his control over the nation and the people of Scotland no longer consider him to be an honourable king, but more of a tyrant. Macbeth’s authority gives him false invincibility in which he thinks that nothing can stop him and so he just freely does what he wants. The power he holds encourages his actions of tyranny so that he can keep protecting his sovereignty. The actions he decides to take are actions that are being influenced by his strong desire to do everything in his power to keep the throne.

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