In the play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare, we see many themes that emerge. One of the major themes is ambition, which eventually leads to death. The definition of Ambition is a desire for some type of achievement like power, honour, fame, or wealth, and the willingness to strive for its attainment. In this play, Shakespeare portrays how ambition can cause destruction and not live up to the expectations of the ambitious persons.
Shakespeare wrote this play in 1606 for the King of that time, James I. James I was originally from Scotland and had just become the King of England. James I was a superstitious man who believed in witches and magic thought he was being controlled by them. He was also Scottish and knew that there were people that didn’t like him. Shakespeare wrote this play just after the gunpowder plot. He wanted the king to like him so included a lot of similarities between James I and the character Macbeth in the political play.
Ambition is one of the major themes in the play where the aim of the play is for Macbeth to be King and to stay being King for as long as possible. There are three main factors that contribute greatly to Macbeths ambition and then destruction, the prophecies told to him by the witches, Lady Macbeth influencing and manipulating Macbeth’s judgment, and Macbeth’s own ambition and greed to become king. The theme of Macbeth being ambitious is set very early on in act 1 scene 3. It is implied when the witches have told him their prophesies and Banquo asks him ‘why do you start at things that do sound so fair?’ which shows he is quite startled by what they are saying and this could be because they have struck a chord in him and could have read his inner thoughts about secretly wanting to become King.
Macbeth starts out by being described as a brave, valiant and worthy gentleman in Act 1 Scene 2. He is a strong, noble Thane and has everything going for him as well as being well liked and trustworthy. In Act 1 Scene 3 when he is told by the witches that he will become the Thane of Cawdor as well as King, at first, he is stunned and not moving but then he wants to know more. The witches activate his ambition in this scene. When Ross and Angus tell him he is now Thane of Cawdor, Shakespeare has put in a double meaning. There is the obvious title of ‘Thane of Cawdor but there is also the title of ‘traitor’ that the previous Thane of Cawdor had been. Macbeth begins to get hopeful but he doesn’t want to think about what he would have to do to get what he wants because he pictures himself as Duncans murderer but doesn’t want to because he likes Duncan. ‘My thought, whose murder yet is…