Ambition, an intrinsic instinct, an inflexible passion that defines us as human. An instinct that endows us with the determination and motivation necessary for a successful future. Quintessential in our leadership. It is defined as a cherished desire, be it for power, status or personal advantage. However ambition is a counterpoint. When tempered with moral integrity, it leads to fulfilment in servitude. In contrast sef-serving ambition perverts your morality in its insatiable lust for satisfaction.
Take the Shakespearean tragedy ‘Macbeth’. A story that resonates because of its fundamental truths on human condition. The character Macbeth is defined by the consequences of his ambition. ...view middle of the document...
In spite of this he yields to temptation accepting the consequences which makes his action even more appalling. Here Shakespeare positions his audience to recognise the consequence of ambition by clearly defining morality shattered in perusing his intentions and the ramifications of these. Making a statement that due to self centred ambition his morality is being perverted.
In the post assassination period we see a repetition of the dissatisfaction consequence of self-serving ambition, reinforcing the concept in the affirmation of Macbeths fears when lady Macbeth states on the topic:,
Naught’s had, all’s spent Where our desire is got without content.
'Tis safer to be that which we destroy
Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy.
After Duncans assasination the self-awareness of moral perversion is still present. Prior to Banquo’s assassination he justifies and nullifies this by convincing himself he’s too far up the river of blood to turn back. This marks the tipping point of his ambition. By this point, Macbeth is willing to do anything in order to secure himself, exacting his evil becomes easier on his conscience . “ evil deeds force us to do more evil deeds”. According to Macbeth, he must ensure his own best interests.
Shakespeare presents a delusion through Macbeth : if we eliminate the cause of our fear shourly we will have peace? However there is no quick fix to his suffocating ambition. Through the constant tormenting of his conscience he gradually loses his grip on reality. The descent of insanity offers another consequences : impulsive irrationality, not only shown in his justification to killing Banquo but epitomised by his reaction against Macduff. In which he says:
From this moment
The very firstlings of my heart shall be
The firstlings of my hand
He goes on to say “This deed I’ll do before this purpose cools”. He has convicted himself to act on an impulse befoure there is time to question it’s morality. From this he desides:
I’ll raid Macduff's castle, seize the town of Fife, and slaughter his wife and children.
Terrifying example of his banality of evil. His impulsiveness leads to him interpreting the witches prophecy that he will die of none of woman born, in a Self destructive arrogance that proves to be his downfall. Shakespeare implies Macbths self-serving ambition distorts ones perception of the world. The consuming ambition that is never satiated blinds him into irrationality.Which distorts his mind, destroys his kingdom and ends in death.
Shakespeare also offers an alternative to Macbeths self centred and self destructive ambition.
The play provides this alternative in the stark contrast of Macduff against Macbeth. The ambition to serve the nation against the ambition to serve himself. Ambition tempered by...