The Fault in Macbeth

Alex Gunther

Ambition Kills

There's a famous saying that everyone knows. It goes, 'Curiosity killed the cat". That may have been true for some, but for Macbeth, it was his own ambition. Ambition doesn't always kill, but mix it with a little bit of the supernatural, and it can be very deadly. Macbeth wasn't planning on killing the King when he won the battle against Macdonwald in Act 1 Scene 1, however; after he met with the witches and they said, "All hail, Macbeth! Hail to you, thane of Glamis! All hail, Macbeth! Hail to you, thane of Cawdor! All hail, Macbeth, the future king!"(Act 1 Scene 1), he got the idea that killing the king would be the fastest way to get what he wanted. Macbeth was willing to kill his own cousin for his own ambition. Macbeth's downfall was because he got a little egotistical and crazy after murdering the king. The witches came to him afterwards and prophesied, "Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff. Beware the thane of Fife....Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth"(Act 4 Scene 1). The Apparitions prophesied that no one born from a womb shall kill Macbeth, and Macbeth translated that as no one will kill Macbeth; he will die of natural causes. However, it is more of an irony because Macduff was not woman born, as he explained while trying to kill Macbeth, "Despair thy charm, And let the angel whom thou still hast served Tell thee, Macduff was from his mother's womb Untimely ripped"(Act 5 Scene 8). Macbeth believed he would never die to someone's sword and he will be King until he dies of natural causes, so he followed his own ambition to make sure he got everything he wanted.


A paradox is a false proposition or prophecy that contradicts itself. The witches are a perfect example of a paradox. Everything they speak is full of paradox and confusion. The most famous line, "Fair is foul and foul is fair"(Act 1 Scene 1) shows a paradox because it shows that the witches like to make pretty things ugly, but they also like to make ugly things pretty. The statement contradicts itself because the witches will make an ugly thing pretty, but because it is pretty, they will need to make it ugly and it repeats.

Dramatic Irony

Dramatic irony is an expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is the perfect example of dramatic irony when the king comes to visit them in their home. Lady Macbeth says to the King, "Your servants ever Have theirs, themselves, and what is theirs in compt, To make their audit at your highness' pleasure, Still to return your own"(Act 1 Scene 6). Lady Macbeth is being very kind to the King and acting excited that the king is in their castle, but she is planning on killing him that night.
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Comic Relief

Comic Relief is adding funny parts to offset or lighten the mood of serious sections. When the people in Macbeth's home find out that the king is dead and the drunk servants are the ones who killed him, the porter tries to lighten the gloomy mood by joking around about what drinking does. He tells Lennox and Macduff, "...drink, sir, is a great provoker of three things.... It provokes the desire, but it takes away the performance"(Act 2 Scene 3). The porter jokes around that drinking makes a guy not able to "perform" as well, so that the serious subject of death is not as serious.

Scar and Macbeth- The Lion King

In the video below at :54 to 1:14, it shows a perfect example of how Scar is like Macbeth, in that, Macbeth will do whatever it takes to be king and so will Scar. In "The Lion King", Scar is not happy that his brother is king because he wants to be king. Scar, then, starts a stampede which Simba is stuck in and Mufasa, Simba's father, comes to the rescue. Seizing this opportunity to become king, Scar lets Mufasa fall to his death.
Lion King: The Death of Mufasa

Song- "My Fair Lady" Traditional Folk Song

The classic folk song, "My Fair Lady" or "London Bridge" is an example of ambition leading to destruction or downfall because the lyrics, "London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down" show that the attempts and the ambition of the architect to provide easier access across the Thames River were not a success, however; that is due to other people. The next verse is "Build it up with wood and clay, Wood and clay, wood and clay...Wood and clay will wash away, Wash away, wash away". This shows that they continued with this idea of a way across even if the people didn't approve. Just like how Macbeth continued to kill people because of his own ambition to remain king, even if people knew he was responsible and wanted to kill him.
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