In the poem Ozymandias, the play Macbeth, the film Gattaca and the book The Oarsome Adventures of a Fat Boy Rower, characters show lots of ambition whether it is for good or bad. Ambition is the strong desire to do or achieve something, the authors of these texts show that ambition can be good or bad depending on the ways that people go about achieving their ambitions and wether they keep there morals and act out don’t of their greed and hubris.

In the poem Ozymandias Percy Shelley tells the story of an ancient king whose ambition was to be the greatest king ever. Ozymandias hubris drove him to create a statue of himself with a pedestal that read ‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings: Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’ Dramatic irony is shown on the words of the pedestal next to his shattered statue in the middle of an empty untouched desert show that in a way Ozymandias thought he was immortal would live for ever and was a sort of god, but instead his empire died alongside him. 

In the play Macbeth, Macbeth was a hero at the beginning but was given information that he would be the next king which led to his crazy ambition to become king and stay there even if it meant going against all human morals. Macbeth’s ambition would lead to nothing in the end just like Ozymandias’ had because he had turned on all of his friends and lost all of his respect because people had found out the things he had done to become king. “security is mortals’ chiefest enemy.” this was said by hecate when she planned to fool macbeth into thinking he was invincible. Shakespeare is trying to show that ambition is not always good, in this case he uses Macbeth as an example as Macbeth’s ambition was for the wrong reasons as he was greedy and lost his friends as he thought he was invincible, and in the end this ultimately led to his despair.

In the film Gattaca, Vincent was supposedly not as good as everyone just because he was born naturally, because of this he was not given oppurtunities to go to space which he had been so intrested in all his life. Vincent never gave up on his dream and his ambition drove him to not give up and keep going no matter what he had to do to achieve his goals. Andrew Niccol shows that anything is possible if you work hard enough and don’t lose your morals. In the film Vincent was not able to follow his dreams simply because the way that he was born, Vincent never gave up on his dreams and instead worked even harder. By the time Vincent was scheduled to go to space a few people had figured out that he was using a false identity but they realised how much work he had put into his dream and unlike Macbeth they realised what he was doing was for good reasons and assisted him to complete his dire ambitions.

Kevin Biggar wrote the book The Oarsome Adventures of a Fat Boy Rower after he completed the Trans-Atlantic rowing race. Kevin Biggar was a middle aged man living with his mum, when he saw an advertisement for a rowing race across the Atlantic he decided he was doing it and winning it even if he had never rowed before. Just like Vincent in Gattaca, Kevin Biggars ambition to succeed pushed him to not give up no matter what. Kevin Biggar wrote his story to show people that there is no limit to what you can achieve. Kevin Biggar shows the idea of ambition through his success and drive to compete in the race and win it even though he didn’t even know how to row when he decided he was going to win it.

Over these texts there are clear links through the ambition of characters. The texts show ambition as positive and negative depending on the ways and reasons it was for. The texts show that when ambition is driven by greed and hubris it will never succeed.

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  1. Mr Waugh has agreed to an extension until Tuesday 23 October

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