Pride and Ambition: Mcbeth Essay

Pride and Ambition: Mcbeth Essay

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When people hear the word “pride”, the range of connotations is extensive: to some, pride means having confidence in one’s ability to accomplish something or having a high sense of self-worth; to others, pride is synonymous with arrogance and vanity. However, then the question being asked is what does pride actually mean? Pride is defined as a feeling of deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements. Knowing what pride means, understanding how people become prideful becomes significantly easier. People become prideful when they are confident, and people become confident once they achieve a goal. However, when someone accomplishes such a feat, he or she becomes extremely assertive and then he or she falls. The sense of fulfillment gives a person a false sense of security and makes a person pretentious, believing that he or she can accomplish anything. That belief is thought of as ambition, and in a way it is, but it is a type of zeal that leads to failure. Therefore, when pride and arrogance corrupts ambition, destruction follows.
In William Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth, Macbeth was very successful, and thought of as valiant and heroic; his accomplishments, mostly in war, earned him titles of nobility. After he secured the position of Thane of Cawdor (a very prestigious position), he desired to become king of Scotland, which exhibits the copious amount of ambition that Macbeth had. Until Macbeth wanted to become king, he had a “pure” ambition, that is, an ambition where he would do honest work to earn his position in society; however, corruption invaded his mind soon after, as was evidenced by his thought that “the prince of Cumberland…[was]… a step on which … [he]… must fall down, or else o’erleap” (I, iv, 50...


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...roughly finished his reign because everyone else saw what pride did to his judgment, so they took advantage of his overconfidence.
Finally, an ambition that is contaminated with pride is an ambition that leads to disaster. Both Macbeth and Napoleon started with wholesome intentions, but because of their conceitedness, they both degraded to the lowest regards in society. Had either one of them not allowed hubris to interfere with ambition, they may have ended their stories successfully: both men could have had benign reigns over their kingdoms. Though it is difficult to avoid corruption when striving to accomplish something, having a tainted ambition is worse than having no ambition at all.



Works Cited

"Napoleon Bonaparte." History.com. A&E Television Networks, 2009. Web. 13 May 2014.
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York, NY: Spark Publishing, 2003. Print.

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