Ambition is Root of All Evil in Macbeth

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7 November 2021

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A dialogue of the saying “Ambition is Root of All Evil” as applied to William Shakespeare’s character Macbeth

It is said that ambition is the key to success. In the case of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, it is the key to his downfall. He is offered with the ambition by the supernatural energy of the witches. Lady Macbeth, his wife, then pushes the ambition. After the murdering of Duncan, Macbeth has gained enough ambition himself to trigger his personal destruction. We can see a transparent building of want throughout the play.

Macbeth is first introduced to the bounds of his energy and his ambitions by the witches, who greet him with three titles: Thane of Glamis, which Macbeth is fully aware of; Thane of Cawdor, which is true at this point, however which Macbeth has not been told of; and King, which has not but become true.

The witches are the ones who plant the precise thought of killing Duncan into Macbeth’s mind.

It should first be understood that in the Elizabethan Age, the witches would have been taken very critically, and that witchcraft was a half of their tradition. King James even wrote a e-book on the subject. Shakespeare foreshadows Macbeth’s corruption via his meeting with these three witches. (I,iii). His ideas are compared to Banquo’s, whose morality, it seems, won’t let himself turn to evil.

Banquo is skeptical of the witches, and tries to warn his pal, who seems to accept what they say.

Without this supernatural prophesy, the considered killing the king would have never crossed Macbeth’s mind. The thought is then bolstered when Macbeth learns that he’s Thane of Cawdor, because the witches foretold (I,iii). Now that Macbeth has the considered becoming king inside him, his is still not capable of killing Duncan. His morality keeps him from performing any such task. He can also be totally conscious of the destructive power of his ambitions.

In act I, scene vii, he even tells us: I truly have no spur To prick the sides of my intent, however solely Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself And falls on the opposite – He is aware of this might be his downfall. His actions are only pursued by the persuasiveness of his wife, Lady Macbeth, who’s even more bold than Macbeth himself. She is so bold that she is keen to sacrifice her femininity and all human emotions for her desire for power (I,v). The action’s of his own wife are essential to Macbeth’s downfall.

She strengthens his ambitions and destroys his nobility. Once the demise of Duncan has occurred Macbeth is gaining even more ambition and want for energy. Lady Macbeth will soon turn into much less and less part of Macbeth’s downfall. He quickly turns into very paranoid. He feels he should kill Banquo to be able to be secure (III,i). The next victims are Macduff’s household (IV,ii). At this level his paranoia has became black-heartedness, and he’ll do something at all to keep himself secure.

Each homicide kills more and more of Macbeth’s morality, and builds his ambitions. At the purpose during which his spouse dies, Macbeth seems to care little or no, and after her demise, seems to not care in any respect. Macbeth is, as expected, overthrown and killed. Through his own ambitions, the ambitions of his spouse, and the prophesies of the witches, Macbeth has caused his personal destruction and downfall. We can now clearly see that ambition not achieved via our personal capability results in destruction.

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"Ambition is Root of All Evil in Macbeth" StudyScroll, 7 November 2021,

StudyScroll. (2021). Ambition is Root of All Evil in Macbeth [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 2 October, 2023]

"Ambition is Root of All Evil in Macbeth" StudyScroll, Nov 7, 2021. Accessed Oct 2, 2023.

"Ambition is Root of All Evil in Macbeth" StudyScroll, Nov 7, 2021.

"Ambition is Root of All Evil in Macbeth" StudyScroll, 7-Nov-2021. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 2-Oct-2023]

StudyScroll. (2021). Ambition is Root of All Evil in Macbeth. [Online]. Available at: [Accessed: 2-Oct-2023]

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