Only on Eduzaurus

The Motive of Ambition in Macbeth

Download essay
Need help with writing assignment?
writers online
to help you with essay
Download PDF

Only eight percent of people actually achieve their goals. The desire to achieve a goal is one aspect humans are determined to attain. Ambition, something many people have, is a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work. Through Macbeth, one can see how even the most devoted individuals and the lengths they go to ensure their ambitious goals are achieved to the fullest.

In The Tragedy of Macbeth Shakespeare uses ambition all throughout the story and it is shown through Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and Macduff. The protagonist, Macbeth displays an ambitious personality in a number of manners. Macbeth has realized the prophecy the witches’ told him has come true. Macbeth says, “The truths are told / As happy prologues to the swelling act- / Of the imperial theme” (Shakespeare 1.3.128-130). Macbeth starts to wonder if the third prophecy is going to come true. The keenness that he turns to is an idea that suggests what he is planning to obtain despite the fact, Macbeth also realizes he would have to commit a terrible deed for him to achieve the position. This shows Macbeth’s ambition, and also reveals that there is foreshowing his actions to come later.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

Any subject

Min. 3-hour delivery

Pay if satisfied

Get your price

Another example is when Macbeth relates horse riding to his ambitious spirit. Macbeth describes, “I have no spur / To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself / And falls on th’other” (Shakespeare 1.7.25-28). He describes being unable to prompt himself to take action by comparing himself to a rider who is unable to use his spurs to motivate his horse to go faster. Macbeth does have his ambition, which he equates to a horse and rider who overvalue their ability to bound over an obstacle and end up falling down. There is tension between Macbeth’s unwillingness to move forward with his plan, and his acknowledgment that his ambition is leading him down a jeopardizing path. As one may see, Macbeth is an extremely ambitious individual.

Lady Macbeth is another character that exemplifies ambition in crazy ways throughout the story. In the story, Macbeth says, “Undaunted mettle should compose / Nothing but males” (Shakespeare 1. 7. 73-74). Women like Lady Macbeth use methods to achieve power, that is manipulation. She manipulates her husband which is very effective because he finally built up the strength to murder the king. Lady Macbeth is remarkable for her strength through the murder of the king. Furthermore, Lady Macbeth also uses her husband’s unlikeliness to get gain bravery for herself. “Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full / Of direst cruelty!” (Shakespeare 1.5. 38-41). Lady Macbeth knows that Macbeth is not going to acquire the crown, due to his faithfulness toward the king. She also knows that it up to her to cause a longing in her husband. When she realizes that King Duncan is about to visit, then she treats that as an opportunity to take away the throne. Moreover, she asks the gods to give her a spirit of masculinity, which is a sign of courage and cruelty to face the violent fight ahead. Lady Macbeth is an extremely strong individual and shows people what it is like to be an ambitious character.


This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers. You can order our professional work here.

We use cookies to offer you the best experience. By continuing, we’ll assume you agree with our Cookies policy.

Want to get a custom essay from scratch?

Do not miss your deadline waiting for inspiration!

Our writers will handle essay of any difficulty in no time.