The Underlying Selfish Desires in Macbeth’s Character

Essay details

Please note! This essay has been submitted by a student.

Where can an individual draw a line between passionately pursuing a goal and being overly-ambitious? Every successful character has one thing in common, a strong desire for success. The hunger that fills their minds to accomplish the extraordinary is what differentiates them from others. However, the ones who pursue their objective with a clear-conscious are highlighted to be heroic, while on the contrary others are villainous. An individual is seen through a universal lens by society to determine if their actions are justifiable. The ability to achieve their aim while remaining intact with their morality plays a significant role in determining if they should be rightfully praised or despised. In Macbeth, Shakespeare demonstrates how overwhelming ambition to acquire and sustain power in the social ladder corrupts Macbeth’s character, which acts as a catalyst in breaking his morality. Thus, Macbeth, the tragic hero is misled by his ego and agitated thoughts into making fatal decisions leading to his ultimate demise.

Essay due? We'll write it for you!

Any subject

Min. 3-hour delivery

Pay if satisfied

Get your price

The role of Lady Macbeth was vital in igniting and fueling the ambition that already resided in Macbeth’s moral by accusing him of lacking the willpower to do what is necessary to become king. Macbeth is previously characterized as a courageous, noble warrior but as he is introduced to the possibility of gaining absolute power in the social chain, an urge of immense greed is expressed through corrupt humanity in him. The recently pronounced Thane of Cawdor had made a false assumption that he would be simply given the title of ‘King’ before Malcolm being pronounced the heir to the throne, in which he corrects and indirectly addresses the audience his tragic flaw: “This is a step/On which I must fall down or else o’erleap,/For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;/ Let not light see my black and deep desires”. 

Macbeth now realizes he will have to pursue his ambition regarding his free will where the underlying selfish desires in his character are being displayed, even before Lady Macbeth has been introduced. Lady Macbeth’s first impression in the Scottish play contains a soliloquy which strongly characterizes her heartless mentality, as well as foreshadowing the role she plays in the ascent and descent of Macbeth: “Hie thee hither,/That I may pour my spirits in thine ear/And chastise/with the valor of my tongue/All that impedes thee from the golden round”. As Lady Macbeth discovers the news about the witches’ prophecy and the arrival of the King, she is filled with content by the idea of becoming queen, although, she believes Macbeth is not bold enough to take the actions needed to accomplish the murder of King Duncan. The nesting ambition in Macbeth comes into conflict with his morals and displays reluctance precisely as his wife expresses, which then enrages her as she scolds, “Wouldst thou have that/Which thou esteem’st the ornament of life/And live a coward in thine own esteem”.

 Lady Macbeth shows frustration, along with intelligence, as she lashes out at her husband for expressing vast roles of femininity and reassures him about the colossal compensation at the end of the road, as well as convinces him to pursue his wicked desires. The dispute in Macbeth’s mind about whether or not killing the King is a rational action is settled by Lady Macbeth through brute, verbal abuse, which in turn inclines a man to show off his masculinity to not feel humiliated.     

Get quality help now

Professor Jared

Verified writer

Proficient in: Plays, Literary Genres, Writers

4.9 (378 reviews)
“My paper was finished early, there were no issues with the requirements that were put in place. Overall great paper and will probably order another one.”

+75 relevant experts are online

More Macbeth Related Essays

banner clock
Clock is ticking and inspiration doesn't come?
We`ll do boring work for you. No plagiarism guarantee. Deadline from 3 hours.

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