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document 2 - RP - Matthew Kusen Ambition Requires...

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Matthew Kusen Ambition Requires Conscience
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Kusen 2 Ambition is the desire to do something and conscience is the knowledge of one’s own acts as right or wrong (conscience). These two words go hand and hand due to the fact that conscience is necessary in the desire of power. Through authors such as Shakespeare, Sophocles, and Huxley I can provide reasons and examples to how characters require conscience in their ambition. Also the American government, Hitler, and The Village can provide further examples of how the desire for power can outcome in ethical reasoning and prove that ambition requires conscience in the quest for power. In William Shakespeare’s’ The Tragedy of Macbeth the protagonist does anything in his power to achieve his goal of becoming King. He receives a prophecy from three witches that states, “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be King hereafter!” (Shakespeare 306). This shows the reader that Macbeth was shown his future before it happened. After learning this he feels and knows that his destiny is to become King. He will do anything in his power to achieve his goal, while disregarding his conscience in the process. Macbeth lies, cheats, and kills individuals to fulfill his power-seeking ambition. Although he does this most of the time within seconds he still has to deal with his ongoing internal conflict throughout this entire time. Since he already has gone through with killing individuals his conscience wasn’t telling him whether or not to do it, but instead was illustrating his regret. Macbeth states in a monologue, “Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand?” (Shakespeare 322). The quote explains how Macbeth contemplates suicide due to the fact that he has done wrong in his attempt for power. This illuminates to the reader that his internal conflict as well as his conscience affecting his ambition. Like Macbeth there is the protagonist from Oedipus Rex . Oedipus and Macbeth have many similarities which establish a clear connection of one’s conscience playing a huge role in
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Kusen 3 one’s ambition. He is told a prophecy by an oracle which predicts his destiny. Oedipus says that it was his fate to get with his mother, kill his father, and to exemplify an unreliable family role model (Sophocles 29). The oracle told him that was going to be his future. He wanted become a
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This note was uploaded on 04/14/2008 for the course PHI 100 taught by Professor Dormer during the Summer '08 term at SUNY Buffalo.

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document 2 - RP - Matthew Kusen Ambition Requires...

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