A huge theme in William Shakespeare’s play, MacBeth is ambition. In the play, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s ambitions turn from good to evil as they start to perform evil acts like lying to numerous people and murdering their own king. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is determined to do good so that he will be well known and remembered but Lady Macbeth’s longing for power causes her to manipulate him into doing anything to become king. Lady Macbeth’s manipulation and Macbeth’s ambition to become the king of Scotland causes them to do very horrible things that eventually lead to their deaths. In the very beginning of the play, Macbeth and his army defeat Norway and a group of Scottish rebels in a civil war led by the Thane of Cawdor. After the last battle of the civil war, Macbeth and another soldier named Banquo have an encounter with three witches.
The witches tell Macbeth that he will become the Thane of Cawdor and then later he will become the king of Scotland. The witches also tell Banquo that his descendants will become kings one day too but he will not be one. When Macbeth and Banquo visit King Duncan after the war, King Duncan names Macbeth as the new Thane of Cawdor and orders for the old Thane of Cawdor to be executed. Macbeth is proud of his new title and his ambition to be a great and loyal general to King Duncan has caused him to become successful.
This ambition will change soon though after he tells Lady Macbeth about the witches’ prophecies. When Macbeth is named the Thane of Cawdor, Duncan also names his son, Malcolm, as heir to the thrown. Macbeth gets angry and confused about this, and wonders why the witches’ prophecies didn’t come completely true. Macbeth later talks to his wife, Lady Macbeth, about this and she believes in the witches prophecies and tells him that he should kill King Duncan so he can become the king of Scotland.
Macbeth at first isn’t sure whether he should do this or not but Lady Macbeth convinces him to when she accuses him of being a coward and not loving her. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s ambition to become powerful convince them to preform this horrible act and Macbeth even says, “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition.” This quote means that he has no reason to commit murder but his ambition to become the king is causing him to do it.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s ambition to have power is pure evil and is the beginning of their doom. Macbeth kills King Duncan and is crowned shortly after Duncan’s heirs, Malcolm and Donalbain, run away because they think that they might get murdered too. Things have gone just as he and Lady Macbeth had planned but unfortunately the deaths don’t end there. After King Duncan is killed, Banquo becomes suspicious because of the witches’ prophecies, and suspects that Macbeth was the one who committed the murder. Macbeth knows that Banquo is suspicious and he is concerned and feels threatened by the prediction that Banquo’s sons will become Kings also. Macbeth’s ambition to keep his power forces him to hire assassins to kill Banquo. Macbeth wants to be the king of Scotland so badly that he decides not to back out of this evil path no matter what.
As the play goes on, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth become even more evil just to remain powerful but their power doesn’t even last. People soon realize that they were the ones who committed the murder and quickly revolt against them. In the end, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth end up dying and Malcolm becomes the rightful king of Scotland.
Macbeth’s ambition dramatically changes throughout the play and was the complete opposite of the good ambition he had at the beginning of it. In conclusion, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth change from having good ambitions to having evil ambitions. Their ambitions change because of the prophecies the witches told Macbeth and this causes them to commit many murders and other evil things just so the prophecy would come true. Their ambition led to both of their deaths and if they had not been so ambitious none of the horrible things in the play would have happened.