In Shakespeare's play "Julius Caesar", ambition is an undesirable trait: "The noble Brutus hath told you Caesar was ambitious. If it were so, it was a grievous fault". Was ambition widely considered a flaw or a sin, or is just a poetic licence?

  • Usually it depends on the word used. Being "ambitious" and being "stubborn" are almost synonymous, one being positive, the other being negative.
    – Bregalad
    Sep 17 '18 at 20:01
  • 1
    Brutus was implying that Caesar was ambitious for himself whereas this speech by Mark Anthony was pointing out that he was not purely self-motivated. Its usually the first that is seen as a flaw, more so than the latter. But of course there are many nuances. Sep 17 '18 at 20:29
  • Notwithstanding Shakespeare's authorship, this says more about ancient Rome than it di does about renaissance England. Maybe the opprobrium directed towards powerful commoners like Thomas Cromwell is more relevant?
    – Ne Mo
    Sep 18 '18 at 21:02
  • Thank you for your comments, but I must say that I am not entirely convinced that Shakespeare uses the term "ambiton" with more than one nuance. From Marc Anthony's speech I get the impression that ambition has only a negative connotation. Marc Anthony always tries to proove that Caesar wasn't ambitious, not that his ambitious was directed towards a greater good. Maybe I should address this question in the English stack exchange.
    – ctapus
    Sep 19 '18 at 19:59
  • @NeMo I am not familiar with the subject you mention, can you please link to a resource?
    – ctapus
    Sep 19 '18 at 20:04

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