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Compare and contrast the presentation of ambition in Steinbecks Of Mice and Men and Shakespeares Macbeth

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the presentation of ambition in Steinbeck?s Of Mice and Men and Shakespeare?s Macbeth Ambition can be defined as the desire for achievement, distinction or the desire for an object and the willingness to strive for it. In Macbeth and Of Mice and Men the protagonists? ambitions are opposites, from the eventual grand desire in Macbeth of becoming king, compared with the simplistic nature of owning a small farm in the height of the Great Depression. These opposites of the protagonists? ambition make it hard to compare ambition itself but more the causes, effects and portrayal of ambition in the two pieces. Firstly the causes of ambition in the two pieces are different. In Macbeth, the causes of ambition are the witches, as they provide Macbeth with a prophesy: ?hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor, All hail, Macbeth that shalt be king hereafter?, which gives him the ideas which form the object of his desires. Contrast this with Steinbeck?s Of Mice and Men and the ambition of the protagonists of owning ?a little house an? a room to ourself?. ...read more.

Middle

This makes Macbeth feel guilty as he is not manly enough to complete the task and so in the relationship Lady Macbeth becomes the driving force. This is important as it shows Macbeth?s inability to achieve his ambition by himself. Whereas in Of Mice and Men, there is no on going struggle in George?s head about whether he has the mental strength and commitment to achieve his ambition, as the ambition is simple and so the effects of ambition on the protagonists are different. George changes little as a result of ambition but it could be said that he works harder as he realises what is at stake. Lennie likewise has little change as a result of ambition mainly because of his mental state as he is unaware of things happening around him. On the other hand, there is a similarity between the two pieces, in both pieces, both of the protagonists are needed to help achieve there ambition. In Of Mice and Men, George realises he cannot raise the money to buy his small farm on his own and so enlists the help of Lennie: ?And I get to tend the rabbits, An? you get to tend the rabbits?. ...read more.

Conclusion

So as a result of the hope generated from this ?dream? a new psychological atmosphere appears on the ranch. This is slightly similar to Macbeth, as the effects are also very psychological. The process of committing the murder was chosen by Shakepeare, as it arouses deep feelings and psychological problems for Macbeth. Macbeth says before he commits the deed ?We still have judgement here, that we but teach Bloody instructions, which being taught, return to plague th?inventor?, the thought of what he is about to do has a clear psychological effect on him as he begins to think about what will happen to him on judgement day. So psychological effect are felt in both pieces. So to conclude, the ambitions themselves are too different to be directly compared, but it is the causes, effects and portrayal of ambition that allow one to examine the difference between the two pieces. In Of Mice and Men, ambition can never be achieved; it is just a dream which one strives for. In Macbeth, ambition can be achieved but never enjoyed as Shakespeare never allows his characters to stop and enjoy their achievement. ...read more.

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