In Macbeth, provide and explain specific examples to show how unrestrained ambition destroys Macbeth's honesty and his sense of duty to relatives and friends. 

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mperez-mugg21 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Macbeth, there are a number of great examples of how unchecked ambition demolishes previously established relationships in the play.  I will highlight three examples and discuss how ambition plays a role in the downfall of each relationship.  First, Macbeth's murder of Duncan ultimately demonstrates the breeching of loyalty by Macbeth as he kills the man who has helped him gain so much and elevated Macbeth's career.  While initially Macbeth feels conflicted about murdering Duncan because of his duty to him as a subject and a friend, Macbeth ultimately concludes that it is the only substantial path to his ultimate success.  Second, Macbeth's murder of Banquo and attempted murder of Fleance is a major betrayal of friendship.  Banquo was a close friend to Macbeth and was nothing more than loyal to him, however the all-consuming fear that Banquo's children might steal his throne leads Macbeth to murder his close friend and attempt to kill his son.  This demonstrates a major lack of duty to one's friend and is fueled by the ambition of becoming more power-hungry.  In this instance, Macbeth has become unsatisfied with only being king and wants to ensure that the throne will remain in his family.  Finally, Macbeth's eventual disregard for Lady Macbeth's suffering demonstrates a true lack of duty to one's loved one because he does not care about her illness and continues to pursue his political gains even when she is not well.  The ultimate disregard comes when he finds out that she has killed herself but does not feel saddened by the loss and instead continues to plot ways in which he can retain his power and defeat his enemies.