Theme Of Ambition In Macbeth

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How are Ambition and Power presented in Frankenstein and Macbeth? “Great ambition is the passion of a great character. Those endowed with it may perform very good or bad acts. All depends on the principles which direct them.” – Napoleon Bonaparte
I believe this quote especially applies in the cases of William Shakespeare’s Macbeth (1606) and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818). They are definitely “great characters” as they are the protagonist in books that have been regarded as great pieces of literature for many centuries, but their ambitions materialised in monstrous acts, meaning the principles that lead them to ruin were equally atrocious. It can be proposed that the principle is ambition. Ambition is a virtue, yet an ambition to be more powerful, (i.e. to rule a country or create life) might have negative consequences because power is known to corrupt. This means that power can corrupt what were initially the most honest ambitions, causing them to obligate to violence bringing them only sadness and greed when their ambitions are realised.
This difference between the two characters is the motive that drove the ambition. In Macbeth’s case it was greed he wanted to be more powerful. The quote “Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires.” shows this as his “black and deep desires” were to kill Duncan to gain the crown. The concept of stars and astronomy was not well researched or understood in the 17th century, with heliocentricism only having been
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