What is the role of motivation in the play Macbeth?

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dule05 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Motivation is a very important factor in the play because it has a great impact on our tragic hero, Macbeth. Macbeth is motivated by the witches' prophecy, his wife's insistence, and his own ambition to murder king Duncan and take the throne.

First of all, his secret desire to plot against Duncan in order to be the king is awakened by the witches when they prophesy that he will be the king of Scotland. However, Macbeth does not wait for the prophecy to come true. He starts acting immediately. With the help of his wife, he decides to kill Duncan and make the prophecy come true.

Second of all, Lady Macbeth plays an important role in motivating her husband to summon enough courage to follow through with his plan of killing Duncan. She wants him to display his strength and tells him to avoid being a coward. So, Macbeth is also motivated to take the throne by his wife's insistence and persuasion.

Thirdly and lastly, Macbeth's ambition plays the most important role in the play. Although Macbeth is motivated by the witches' prophecy and his wife, it is his surreptitious and unrestrained ambition that makes him commit murder. So, he is the one to blame for his imminent downfall.