Ambition Portrayed In Macbeth And The Crucible

1277 words - 5 pages

The Emanation of Over Aspiration

In the myth of Icarus, the renowned artisan Daedalus and his son Icarus defied the gods in an act of hubris by flying, defying their mortal limits. Daedalus and his son flew with the aid of improvised wings composed of feathers and wax. Daedalus warned his son not to fly too low or too high or else the wings would be drenched by the waves or the wax would be melted by the sun. However young Icarus, filled with pride and ambition, while enjoying the act of flight, flew too high and the heat liquified the wax adhering the wings together. Icarus then plummeted into the Aegean Sea and drowned. (Shmoop editors) As seen in the myth of Icarus, his pride and youthful ambition coerced him to desire more, he was aware of the consequences previously indicated by his father yet he still opted for more. Just like any other circumstance, an excess of ambition can be a detrimental trait. Ambition is a common thread portrayed in both Macbeth, by William Shakespeare and The Crucible, by Arthur Miller that can be distinguished in a variety of similar and adverse ways such as ambition out of desperation, instilled ambition and ambition towards power.
Foremost, ambition is a common thread portrayed in both Macbeth and The Crucible that can be distinguished in a variety of similar and adverse ways such as ambition out of desperation. In Macbeth, desperation is a predominant trait that coerces characters to act ambitiously. An example of this desperation can be seen when a vindictive Macduff solely desires Macbeth who bereaved him of his family. “Oh, I could play the woman with mine eyes/And braggart with my tongue! But, gentle heavens,/ Cut short all 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.” (4.3.270-275) Desperate ambition is also portrayed by Malcolm in his quest to take back his rightful throne from Macbeth in order to restore civility in his country and take back what is rightfully his. In both cases, these characters are desperate to achieve their desires, Macduff desperately seeks to avenge his family amok and Malcolm is desperate to reform the defiled society and take back the throne that is rightfully his in order to restore the peace in society. Moreover, The Crucible also portrays desperate ambition, however, it renders desperation in a different way. Instead of portraying desperation vindictively, desperation is shown in a magnanimous manner. For example, Giles Corey sacrifices his self in order to save his name for his sons when he refuses to admit or decline witchcraft and suffering horrendous torture being crushed by stones and only saying “more weight” (Miller 135) As well as John Proctor refusing to sign his name in order to save his own name and to preserve “his goodness” (Miller 143), he desperately does not wish to immolate any others and refuses to lie. (Miller 140-142) Thereupon, ambition is a common...

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