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"if you aim at nothing than you are sure to hit it--mason smith" - Inxaxaxaacaf

Ambition as a Social Stigmus

  • Date Submitted: 11/24/2013 02:03 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 32.1 
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    Ambition, although useful in allowing people and forces to get what they want, may have severe detrimental consequences in addition to the positive outcomes that come from expressing it. Although ambition is "socially useful", being ambitious for selfish reasons may end in chaos.
    An example of ambition gone awry can be found in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter. Hester's husband, Roger Chillingworth, definitely possesses quite a bit of ambition, but the risks that he takes do not help society, but rather end up hurting everyone around him and causing severe conflicts. The source of Chillingworth's ambition comes from his eagerness to get revenge on Reverend Dimmesdale, the man who aided his wife in committing adultery and the father of Hester's daughter. In this case of ambition, Chillingworth's perseverence and eagerness to harm Dimmesdale clouded his mind, and instead of getting revenge and fulfilling his goals the morally and ethically correct way and turning Dimmesdale in, he used his medical expertise and knowlege to torture Dimmesdale with the thought of his own sins. Not only did this ambition gone wrong harm Dimmesdale, a fellow Puritan, but it also pushed him away from his own Puritan faith. His obsession with getting what he wanted and punishing Dimmesdale for his sins led him to sinning himself, putting him in quite the hypocritical situation. Chillingworth's actions mirror what ambition does to people in our society today. His obsession with bringing down Dimmesdale in order to make himself feel better about his wife's unfaithfulness is similar to how, for example, political candidates will release negative statements and scandalous facts about their opponents in order to bring them down. Neither of these situations are beneficial to society in any way, and are examples of how ambition can get to your head and have a negative impact on others. Taking ambition too far and focusing solely on how you can benefit from your actions has been a...


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