The Dangers of Ambition
The Dangers of Ambition
"Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or very bad acts. All depends on the principals which direct them" (Napoleon Bonaparte). Take anyone that tried to succeed in life, they all had ambitions to a certain extent. However, did anyone with a goal ever face any danger because they were too ambitious? If you were uncertain take the story of Macbeth for example. Even though he persevered to become king, he was killed because he abused his powers. Too much ambition is dangerous because people become too greedy and they lose sight of what really matters in life, but on the contrary, however, people will achieve their goals.
In the Tragedy of Macbeth, many forms of great ambition were portrayed and shown throughout the story; one of them being greed. This means that because Macbeth's ambitions and expectations were so high, he started only caring about power, money, and control. Macbeth did anything he could to become king and that would even mean eliminating those in his way, but the most obvious example of this is with the witches. With his many interactions with the witches, he tells people not to trust them and goes out and seeks answers from them. In 4.1 lines 157-158, he says, "Infected by the air whereon they ride / and damned all those that trust them!". What Macbeth says in this means that anyone who trusts the witches is a fool and evil people because in this story they represent the darkness. What is ironic about this is that Macbeth trusts them because of his personal gain even though he has seen signs of deceptive capabilities from them. With the idea of greed in Macbeth, dangerous ambition another big part of it was that he loses sight of what is right and what is wrong.
Because Macbeth ventured too far with his ambitions, he lost sight of right from wrong making him unaware of his thoughts and actions. In this story, this would mean that he is letting the evil slowly seep into his brain and corrupt his mind. In 5.5 lines 19-25, the text says, "She should've died hereafter". This indicates his lack of interest in his wife's death. This is important because it shows the contradiction from Macbeth before and after the prophecies that the witches foresaw. Before he was a nobleman and listened to his wife, but after he followed his mind and fulfilled his prophecies to be king, he was a sinner and destroyed Scotland's empire not caring or even realizing who didn't care about anyone or anything anymore. From the outside source from the article Cleopatra, they claim, "Cleopatra hoped to tie herself emotionally to Julius Caesar...Cleopatra made hard relations to turn the public against Octavian..." and "Although he thought they were safe, Antony stabbed himself after a false report of Cleopatra's death… then Cleopatra staged her own death". This connects to the idea of ambition is dangerous because people can lose sight of what matters because both Cleopatra wanted power and turned people against the opposition for their personal gains. Also, both had an ultimate goal and they died in unfortunate, dangerous ways even though they had thought that they were safe. Although the idea that his ambitions were dangerous, the other side might think that it isn’t because Macbeth reached his ultimate goal.
On the other hand, some people and experts claim that there are positive impacts of having too much ambition, for example reaching your ultimate goal. What this means is that Macbeth's drive for power gave him confidence and elasticity to extend him through what he thought his limits were. Since Macbeth became king of Scotland, some argue that he reached his ultimate goal. However, he caused a massive domino effect that ruined all of his work. One example given in the text says in 1.7 lines 25-28 says, "I have no spur / to prick the sides of my intent, but only / vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself / and falls on the other". When Macbeth makes plans to murder King Duncan, his moral code is still evident but it is beginning to be corrupted by his ambition. In this quote, Macbeth struggles with the evil he is about to commit and he knows that danger comes with it but decides to ignore it. Too much ambition can be dangerous because some amount of ambition an excessive amount of ambition can also be dangerous because you are putting yourself at risk of burnout, stubbornness and even a shorter life, likewise shown in the story of Macbeth. In one scenario Julius Caesar was very, very ambitious and reached his goal to control and empower Rome. "While fighting to become the sole emperor of Rome, he pushed his chief rival Pompey into Egypt," and "Egypt and Rome thrived," (Netzley). This connects with the argument of reaching goals because he was really ambitious and worked with people instead of against them to rise to power and finally fulfill his legacy. As a result of Macbeth's uncalled-for actions, in order to attempt to reach his goals, it resulted in the conclusion; too much ambition can be dangerous indeed.
Although too much ambition could lead to reaching your goal, people who have too much ambition are in danger because they become too greedy and lose sight of what matters. As shown in Macbeth, too much ambition can be dangerous because the more someone pushes themselves the more they lose sight of things and become more greedy. As Macbeth became more and more corrupted, his dangerous ambitions made him lose sight of what really matters, making him forget his culture and ethics. Although he did reach his ultimate goal to become king, it was short-lived and was very dangerous in his case. After reading this, if people chase their dreams without having remorse or second thoughts, get greedy and forget their ethics will it be as dangerous as the Macbeth tragedy.