Macbeth And Self-Centered Ambition Essay Example


Self-centered ambition is a dangerous affair to meddle into. Self-centered ambition, in other words, self-seeking and always looking out for one's own interests above the interests of others. 

Setting a goal in mind is the spark to determination and critical thinking. For some, that might be just enough to obtain what they desire. But for many others who are selfishly motivated from the start, begin their journey through a dark path. As C. J. Mahaney once said, "Individuals motivated by self-interest, self-indulgence, and a false sense of self-sufficiency pursue selfish ambition for the purpose of self-glorification." This corrupted form of ambition is majorly seen in The Tragedy of Macbeth written by William Shakespeare. Many key factors were involved to aid the development of such mindset and behavior. For example, Macbeth went from protecting his country and being loyal to embarking on a murderous journey which is related to the plot. He starts hallucinating and losing his mind, a sign of symbolism. Lastly, Macbeth got exactly what he did to the king in return and since the audience knew about it, but Macbeth didn’t, that’s considered as dramatic irony.  

Macbeth was never born with greedy behavior, instead, he was a respected and courageous man that devoted himself to king Duncan of Scotland. Despite all of this, his loyalty gradually began to fade and eventually was replaced with greed and selfishness. A soul darkening aspect stored within him was fed and eventually started taking over. He was led to believe that someday he’d become Thane of Cawdor then king hereafter based off of the witches prophecies. As soon as he became Thane of Cawdor, he assumed that the last prophecy must come true as well. He decided to not count on fate to determine whether he’d be crowned or not and wrote to his wife about his plan. He, with bad intentions in mind was strongly determined to get what he desires no matter the obstacle ahead of him. “Stars you’re your fires and let not light see my deep and black desires”. Macbeth, Thane of Cawdor at the time, embarks on a murderous journey and successfully murders the king while he slept in his castle. Banquo’s prophecies were revealed when Macbeth was present. Banquo’s sons would also be kings someday. So, another obstacle seemed to appear before him in which he needed to get rid of quickly. “To be thus is nothing, but to be safely thus. Our fears in Banquo stick deep, and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be feared.” He hires assassins to get the job done and feels little to no guilt in regard to the death of his former friend. Macbeth adds more people to his “to kill” list and gets his men to murder Macduff’s entire family as a retribution. “from this moment the very firstling of my heart shall be the firstling of my hand”. Due to his killing streak nothing but increasing while time goes on, his innocence has vanished and ultimately left him with an unstable mindset.  

Macbeth, with his poor mental health, struggles to put up an act of innocence along with an inability to distinguish what’s real or fake and good or bad. Although Macbeth sounds highly determined to become king of Scotland, he avoided to think twice about the negative consequences laying ahead of him due to his selfish goals and level of self-centered ambition blinding him. Throughout the entire play, we witness how Macbeth starts falling apart and one key element that foreshadowed his downfall was hallucination. In act 2 scene 1, prior to Duncan’s killing, Macbeth starts hallucinating about a bloody dagger pointing into the direction of the king’s chamber. “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand?” The bloody dagger symbolizes guilty conscience, ambition and a bloody course in which Macbeth will take a part in. His hallucinating phase reoccurs once more after Banquo passed away. At the banquet that the Macbeths were hosting, he sees Banquo’s ghost. The incident drove Macbeth insane and resulted in the guests having to leave due to his inability to keep himself together. “the times have been, that, when the brains were out, the man would die, and there an end, but now they rise again, with twenty mortal murders on their crowns, and push us from our stools: this is more strange than such a murder is.” Macbeth’s bloody quest has led him through a terrible path. Not only has it affected the entire country, but it had a major impact on him as a whole. He’s sleep deprived, not consuming nutritious food (physical health), become immoral and unstable (mental health). The new king of Scotland believed that even though he’s done everything in his power to get everyone out of his way to find the throne before him, he wouldn’t get caught and that karma wouldn’t bite him back. Well, turns out everything he believed was accompanied with deception. 

Karma, a theoretically powerful yet affective result of events that develop caused by one’s actions. Macbeth is indeed a powerful king that managed to think he had control over everything, and nothing could ever stand in his way. As we all know, Macbeth was definitely one of the most loyal subjects and would put his life on the line to protect his country like the other men. Once he betrayed the king, his life changed entirely. And when he became king, he’s experienced the same. Malcolm, Macduff, old Siward and the English army are ready to attack Macbeth’s castle in order to dethrone him. They use branches as camouflage and march towards him. Many of Macbeth’s men outside suddenly turned against him and fought alongside the English army including the three men. “Those he commands move only in command, nothing in love.” “The tyrant’s people on both sides do fight, the noble thanes do bravely in the war” “We have met with foes that strike beside us.” Whenever an individual acts a certain way towards another whether it be with good or bad intention, most of the time, expect something in return. Since Macbeth betrayed the king, his subjects betrayed him in return. Macbeth’s ambition which was sparked by the prophecies told by the witches, led him to his downfall instead of his success. We come to know that by the end of the play, the prophecies had double meanings, which he was unaware of. 

Macbeth’s actions all backfired before he could even come to his senses. His actions were guided by his self-centered ambition. Self-centered ambition effortlessly guides anyone through an undesirable path of suffering, guiltiness, regret, depression and sadness. Macbeth thought that he had one sole purpose and it was to unrightfully be king. An individual who thinks that murdering is a good way to get what they want is only going to get into lots of trouble inside and out such as Macbeth. Therefore, staying away from self-centered ambition would be the best idea in order to get what you most truly desire. Turning your back on people that once loved you does have consequences. Always stick to the right path because it’ll be more beneficial to everyone including yourself in the long run. 

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