Ambition In Macbeth And Arthur Miller's Death Of A Salesman

1528 Words 7 Pages
Ambition is defined to be the intense desire to achieve one’s goals as well as the unwavering perseverance to obtain success. While some people let ambition empower them to become their best selves, others let ambition control them to the point of failure. Through the characters of Macbeth in Macbeth and Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, both William Shakespeare and Arthur Miller reveal how uncontrolled ambition and reckless dreams possess the capability to lead one to their destruction. Ambition leads the characters to be extremely gullible and destroys their moral conscience and integrity. Moreover, ambition leads the protagonists to destroy their relationships with those most important to them. Furthermore, their passion to achieve success …show more content…
Macbeth, once a man of great nobility and virtue, starts to believe in all that the Witches say without question or doubt. He not only lets the Witches’ prophecies push him to betray the king, but he lets their words drive him to succumb fully into evil. Macbeth’s ambition creates his need to know the truth, eventually influencing him to destroy his own morality. Macbeth, once a saviour to some, no longer fights to rid the world of evil but instead even encourages it, “Even till destruction sicken, answer me / To what I ask you” (Shakespeare 4.1.60-61). Once God-fearing, Macbeth’s ambition leads him to throw away his beliefs and focus solely on his goals, no matter the consequences. Similarly, Willy’s values and ethics are compromised due to his obsession with success and the American dream. In Death of a Salesman, Willy believes all the lies that his family tells him and even believes the ones he tells himself. His lies convince him that he is greater than who he truly is, “I averaged a hundred and seventy dollars a week in the year of 1928” (Miller 82) despite never actually achieving success. Willy’s refusal to see the truth causes him to treat other people poorly. His ambition causes him to see other people as inferior and pushes him to lash out and often act aggressively. Once an inspiring and devoted salesman, …show more content…
Ambition leads both protagonists to be excessively ignorant and heartless towards morality, as is seen (p.t., w.c. present) when Macbeth calls for destruction as well as (and) when Willy treats people as inferior to him. The deterioration of the relationships between Macbeth and his wife and Willy and his son also exhibits how uncontrolled ambition has the power to wreak havoc on even the people one cares the most about. Macbeth’s hallucinations, such as with the dagger and Willy’s flashbacks such as with the car also showcase how deadly ambition is, as it has the power to lead one to complete delusion. The desire to achieve success and the determination to strive for it despite the challenges is a characteristic that is extremely attractive at first glance. However, through the characters of Macbeth and Willy, Shakespeare and Miller perfectly exhibit how this desire without control or restraint can manipulate some to do more harm than

Related Documents