Ambition is a force that helps drive societies forward. When the power of a nation falls in the hands of a single person ambition takes many spectacular and ugly forms. It can be both the making and destruction of that person but regardless of the net effect, ambition will have deep socio-economic, political, and cultural roots. Three dictators were taken by ambition and it pushed them into a costly, long, battle to obtain and maintain power. Those leaders are Macbeth, Idi Amin, and, Napoleon Bonaparte.
Macbeth is the main character in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Macbeth was born into low ranking nobility and rose to fame as a general. He did so well in the military that he became the Thane of Glacis, which was later to be followed by the title: Thane of Cawdor.
Macbeth’s success is great but he was tempted by three witches to be even more ambitious. They gave him a prophecy that said “all hail Macbeth! Hail to thee of Glanis. All hail Macbeth! Hail to thee of Cawdor. All hail Macbeth! That shall be king hereafter.” (Shakespeare I.iii.6) This frightened and, amazed him because later that day part of the prophecy came true. He became thane of Cawdor. “And for an earnest of a great honor, he bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor. In which addition, hail, most worthy thane! For it is Thine.” (Shakespeare I.iii.7). Banquo also gets a prophecy that contradicts Macbeth’s prophecy. ”lesser than Macbeth and greater. Not so happy yet much happier. Thou shalt get king, through thou be none so all hail Macbeth and Banquo.” (Shakespeare I.iii.6)
Macbeth wrote a letter to his wife about the prophecy and she became ambitious for Macbeth initially. She convinced him to kill King Duncan and not wait for fate to give him the crown. “Art not without ambition, but without the illness should attend it: What thou wouldst highly, that wouldst thou holily: would not play false,” (Shakespeare I.v.12). They murdered the king in his sleep and his sons fled the country to prevent their own assassinations.
After Macbeth becomes king he became worried that his position would be compromised by a traitor. He is increasingly worried about Banquos prophecy and has Banquo murdered to protect his power. “My lord his throat is cut, that I did for him” (Shakespeare III.iv.41) Macduff one of the nobles leaves the county to organize a revolt against Macbeth. Macbeth has Macduff’s family and castle staff killed to protect against further betray. “The castle of Macduff I will surprise; Seize upon fife; give to the edge o’ the swords his wife, his babes and all unfortunate souls that trace him in his line. (Shakespeare IV.ii.56). This choice to kill Macduff’s family led to Macbeth’s fall.
Macduff heard about the death of his entire castle and became committed to revenge. “But gentle heavens, cut short al intermission: front to front bring thou this fiend of Scotland and myself; within my sword’s length set him; if he ‘scape, heaven forgive him too!”...