There are many different types of ambition, good types of ambition that can lead people to do brilliant things for themselves and others, and other types of dark ambition that can lead people to do selfish things to others for their own gain. Ambition is defined as “a strong desire to do or achieve something” and nearly all of of the big choices we make in life whether they are good or bad come down to our ambition.
The film Montage of Heck is a documentary about Kurt Cobain the lead singer and guitarist of the band Nirvana. It was directed by Brett Morgen and one main focus was on Kurt’s ambition for Nirvana. One reason why this was a main theme in the film was that others with no personal connection to Kurt Cobain had speculated about his ambition one being Charles Cross who wrote a biography about Cobain called Heavier Than Heaven (2001) in this version of Cross says “all Kurt ever wanted was to be famous” and calls him “a hypocrite about fame and influence” despite never knowing Cobain. So in many ways Montage of Heck set the record straight.
Despite becoming one of the most famous and popular bands of the 90s none of the members of Nirvana said they ever wanted that fame and in an interview Kurt was asked what he wanted for the future of Nirvana and he replied with “Write more good songs, thats all we care about is writing good music if we get popular or not it doesn’t matter, The musics more important”this makes it all the more ironic that nirvana became hugely famous and one of the reasons they became so famous was that they never focused on fame simply on writing great music that they wanted to listen to. This allowed them to be more creative and more true to themselves
Ambition is often seen as a good trait but the play Macbeth shows its darker side of how it can corrupt and turn people who were once good into traitors and murderiours. In this play the main character Macbeth betrays his king whom he was once loyal to because 3 witches told him that one day he would become the King of Scotland. In this scenario his ambition to gain the throne overrode his sense of loyalty to his king and therefore this is the dark side of ambition. After he betrays his king Macbeth does everything and anything in his power to eliminate anyone who might challenge his clam on the throne. In doing this Macbeth killed Duncan’s two guards, Banquo, Lady Macduff, her family, her household and Young Siward. In the end though despite the lengths he went to to gain the throne he was never truly happy once he was King this was in part the guilt of knowing what he had done to become king and also looking back at the honorable influential man he once was and comparing it who he had become a tratiours murder who no one would truly ever trust again.
The film Gattaca is set in a future where genetically engineered humans are viewed as superior to naturally conceived “fate babies”. The main character in the film Vincent Freeman is one of these so called fate babies. From an early age Vincent is disadvantaged having to work much harder than his genetically engineered brother Anton Freeman to achieve the same results. It is this disadvantage that leads Vincent’s ambition in later life, the feeling of having to work much harder than others to achieve the same results means that when he has a goal he works much harder than any of his adversary to full fill that goal. This is evident later in the film when Anton wants to become an astronaut because of the lengths at which he goes to to achieve this goal, doing things such as cutting through and inserting fake prosthetics into his legs to appear taller, and memorising an entire astronomy book. Vincent’s ambition is also evident in his swimming races with his brother. When Vincent and Anton were younger they would have swimming races where they would swim as far out to sea as they could to see who could swim further and still make it back. naturally as Anton was genetically superior he won every time but as the boys got older Vincent’s ambition started to outgrow Anton’s and eventually in the last two races they ever had Vincent beat Anton. After wards Vincent says to Anton “You want to know how I did it? This is how I did it, Anton: I never saved anything for the swim back.” This shows Vincent’s ambition because he eventually managed to beat his brother who was genetically superior than him simply because Vincent grew up disadvantaged so he had to work harder than his brother and eventually that paid off.
The poem Ozymandias displays the idea that no matter how powerful you are and no matter how much ambition you have eventually it all becomes nothing. He shows this in the poem through the lines “And on the pedestal, these words appear: My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings; Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair! Nothing beside remains. Round the decay Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare The lone and level sands stretch far away.” This quote shows us that Ozymandias was very famous and powerful or at least he thought he was as he called himself the “King of Kings” but as time passed his “Works” eventually became nothing. This is a strange phenomenon about ambition because often those people who see themselves as a larger than life figure and who rule over huge empires are eventually forgotten as time passed and they fade away such as Ozymandias, whilst people like Kurt Cobain and Shakespeare who instead of ruling over people simply express their ideas for others to listen to, live on even though they are dead and will continue to be listened to and appreciated for a long time in the future.