Political ambition undermines man’s loyalty. In the play, Macbeth decides to kill his king because of his ambition for position. At the beginning of the play, he portrays himself as a noble person. He fights in the battle against Norway and proves his loyalty; however, as soon as the witches prophesize that Macbeth “shall be king hereafter” (1.3.53), he is not longer trustworthy. Ambition for power starts creeping into his head. After Macbeth’s internal conflict over whether or not to kill Duncan, he decides to do it quickly (1.7.3) in order to hasten the predictions. He decides to kill the king because he wants to extend his power all over the country by becoming the new monarch. He desires to be more wealthy and respected by the nobility as well as by the common people. Becoming king represents the highest rang in the political pyramid. The act of murdering is the only way to make his dreams come true because Duncan’s fair and prosperous rule over Scotland experience the support of the whole population. As Malcom and Donalbain fly to England, he automatically takes possession of the throne. Macbeth displays political ambition first of all because of his wife. After she reads her husband’s letter about his meeting with the witches, she suggests for Macbeth to kill Duncan so she could be queen. At the beginning Macbeth hesitates to talk about such a thing and even lists the reason not to kill: he is his king, his uncle and his guest. Not completely sure about it and victim of his own desires for power he finally accepts Lady Macbeth’s plan for murdering the ruler of Scotland. This decision portrays Macbeth’s dirty morality and easily manageable personality.
Macbeth’s character is a clear example of how ambition corrupts man’s personality. After a brief period of hesitation, he finally decides to take the infamous way of murder in order to make his political desires come true. His ambition, stronger than the moral and social condemnation of killing, becomes his sole motive. The American philosopher David Young goes further in this analysis and sees in Macbeth how “the act of regicide is a ready means of illustrating the genesis of tragic structure in struggles for power” (Young 318). According to him, Macbeth’s decision of killing the king has only one motivation, to gain control of the state. His character illustrates how ambition for power corrupts everything and eventually transforms good people into cowardly murderers. Everybody has personal desires and ambitions, but when reaching one’s goals requires getting involved in crime or treachery, the tragic result is death and madness.