Tragic Flaws of Macbeth: Ambition and Guilt

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About this sample


Words: 462 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Words: 462|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Feb 8, 2022

Macbeth is a Jacobean tragedy by English playwright William Shakespeare circa 1606. Macbeth, where a tale is told of how a noble and honorable Macbeth was manifested by his own greed, self-aggrandizement, and ambition which led to his own demise. As Macbeth ascends to the throne of Scotland silhouetted against a background of regicide and political unrest, his attempt to paradoxically merge passivity with ambition defies his mind consequently leads to his own insanity. As the play gradually unravels, the enigmatic roles of the witches who represent the supernatural who amidst Macbeth’s realm of force Macbeth becomes an object of fate through their prophecies and riddles. However Macbeth was not initially doomed by fate but his inherent flaw in his character allowed his wife Lady Macbeth to manipulate him to fulfill her own strong-willed ambitions.

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In Macbeth, Shakespeare reveals the implicit passivity within Macbeth which is at all odds with his ambition for the throne. Upon meeting the three witches he realises his newly found ambition which marked the beginning of his downfall. As the intricacies of the plot unfolds Macbeth begins to transform from a valiant warrior to a dark minded Macbeth then the tyrant king of scotland. Initially Macbeth was depicted as a noble soldier who had just led the scotish troops to victory over invading forces and had been promoted to thane of Cawdor. But as the play progresses Macbeth encounters the three witches which prophesied the next king leading Macbeth to adopt the principle that he would have to kill the royal family to attain the position of a king. Macbeth wasn’t doomed by fate but his flawed motives for kingship, avarice and desire for power led to his downfall.

Macbeth's usurpation of power within the scotish kingdom was strongly influenced and planned by his wife Lady Macbeth who was playing the antagonist. Lady Macbeth's influence over Macbeth's actions is evident in scenes where she called out his cowardice and questioned his manhood by asking Macbeth “when you durst do it” and “then you were a man” leading Macbeth to adopt such murderous intentions to commit regicide. The flaw of being easily manipulated by others caused Macbeth to lose his sanity as he expresses his guilt triggered by his inherent morality. Although external factors led to the defilement of Macbeth, the text indicates that it is his inner turmoil that made him morally ruinous.

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Macbeth, one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, an intricately constructed text which analyses Macbeth's rapacious accession to become king and his inevitable downfall. A play which elucidates the flaws of a man, uncertainty, insecurity and the feeling for remorse and guilt. Macbeth was not doomed by fate, but his inherent flaws purely self inflicted led to his physical and emotional collapse which ultimately led to his own demise.  

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Tragic Flaws Of Macbeth: Ambition And Guilt. (2022, February 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 28, 2024, from
“Tragic Flaws Of Macbeth: Ambition And Guilt.” GradesFixer, 10 Feb. 2022,
Tragic Flaws Of Macbeth: Ambition And Guilt. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 28 May 2024].
Tragic Flaws Of Macbeth: Ambition And Guilt [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Feb 10 [cited 2024 May 28]. Available from:
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