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Great man’s madness Essay

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 12 July 2017

Great man’s madness

Satan, although he repents his actions is still driven to conquer God’s power as he is believed that God was simply born into power and does not therefore make him the great leader. This aspires Satan and has led to the growth of his ambition to become the mighty leader of Hell. He has taken his ambition and is using the falling rebel angels as the poisoned darts as weaponry against God.

It is Satan’s belief in his own achievement to have been the founder of Hell that he can become a mighty leader to rebel and eventually become just as powerful as God – “All is not lost, the unconquerable will and study of revenge; immortal hate and courage never to submit and yield. ” It is shown that Satan’s immortal hatred for God having banished him to Hell, imprisoned for eternity that has stirred his emotions in order to rebel. His “immortal hate” is shown to be the reason for his revenge and continuing his initial ambition to “equal the most high”.

His lasting “courage” which is “never to submit and yield” is what has kept Satan’s ambition driven and alive. Milton emphasises how strong personalities and characteristic previously known as heroic can used as a force for evil. “Search for the heads of the greatest rivers in the world, they are simply but bubbles in the water” shows that Webster feels that not everyone is born into power is a great leader, they too can become entranced by ambitious desires themselves and simply ruin themselves. He shows that all great leaders are equal, and that there is no difference between one who was born into it, to one who has earned it.

Like Satan, he shows that the Duchess can be overruled. The reason for Satan’s downfall is soon recognised, but not learned upon as he remains invincible. “The mind and spirits remain invincible, and vigour soon returns” shows how ambition and determination can cause the growth of an undeniably fatal action. Milton shows how the mind is “invincible”, emphasising that ambition never dies and can take over the person who may once have been respected and looked up to. As “vigour soon returns”, it is easy to say that ambition; although sometimes lost is never forgotten and returns until the end.

“For when a man’s mind rides faster than his horse can gallop, they quickly both tire” also emphasises a similar point that ambition causes the end. Webster shows us that ambition can cause a person to become overtaken by their own self-greed and desires, in which they cannot be controlled or even, understand themselves. Satan is shown to not have understood the consequences of his actions with his willingness to continue in his venture. “To reign is worth ambition, though in Hell, better to reign in Hell than to serve in Heaven. ” Here, Milton suggests that ambition is never-ending.

He shows that Satan’s ambition to reign is worth the aim in which he strives for and that it is better to strive for something that can be achieved; rather than living in false hope. Satan instructs his angels to “awake, arise or be forever fallen”, showing that if you understand what you truly want; you will follow your ambition, which in part is natural cause. Showing the angels who do not fall as being the “forever fallen” highlights ambition to be a persuasion of interest as to how things may be with a new lease of life, following what you want to do; rather than being instructed as to “serve in Heaven”.

Milton’s initial overthrow of Satan’s rebel army against God in the first war suggests that ambition is the cause of downfall, and that the rebel angel’s banishment as eternal suffering will be their price. It is, however that the angels do not see their “chief not in despair, to have found themselves not lost in loss itself, but he, his wanted pride soon recollecting with high words, gently raised their fainting courage and dispelled their fears” that defeat of ambition causes it to grow; perhaps until the mind has become manipulated by the effects of the actions undertaken and those that have occurred as a result.

“But his face, deep scars of thunder had entrenched and care sat on his faded cheek” shows that madness of ambition, having created “deep scars” in which Satan’s own “impetuous rage” was the cause. It highlights ambition to be the defeat of a man’s mind. Webster, in a similar way to Milton shows that ambition is the cause of your own guilt. “Do not put yourself to such a voluntary torture, which proceeds out of your own guilt” suggests that an ambition acted against inflicts a madness which is derived from “your own guilt”.

It is shown that ambition causes madness and is impossible to escape – “I have this night digged up a mandrake, and I am grown mad with it. ” The image of ambition being a growth, continually smouldering the mind of another as a result of self-greed and determination to achieve what others have done before them is the cause of their own downfall. It is through their ambition to achieve that they become blinded by their own visage of life. Ambition is said to be the cause of a man’s downfall.

“Hereafter, you may, wisely cease to grieve for that which cannot be recovered” is shown to highlight that ambition is the cause of suffering, which you “grow mad in it” through “your own guilt”. The fact that it is said that you “grieve for what cannot be recovered” is similar to that in Paradise Lost. As Milton shows how Satan cannot recover his place beside God, being free and able to serve under him as a cost for a “celestial light” and free will. In conclusion, it is clear that ambition is the sole cause of “a great man’s madness”.

In Paradise Lost, Milton has explained that Satan’s desire has become his own downfall; imprisoned for eternity with the inability to regain freedom. It is with this entrapment and physical containment which has caused Satan’s own personal regret and maddening of the mind, “vaunting aloud and racked with deep despair”. It is shown that Satan’s continuity is also a lead to his downfall, being unable to see his flaw; forever feeling he is capable of overthrowing God of his seat and forever being disappointed.

In The Duchess of Malfi, we have also seen that ambition is the cost of another man’s downfall. We can see that ambition is not only the cause of eternal suffering for yourself, but is the tragedy of others before you before you can realise your own actions. Webster shows how madness is derived from ambition – “that’s the greatest torture souls feel in Hell: In Hell they must live and cannot die”. He shows how madness is overtaken of the soul, being unable to rest as ambition is the sole driver for constant succession and greed.

However, Webster shows that ambition is a “great man’s madness”; but is not necessarily affecting everyone in the same way. Although madness is the cause created from an ambitious nature, Webster shows us that “in Hell, there is one material fire; and yet it shall not burn all men alike. ” Here, Webster describes that ambition can affect people in many ways; but in turn leads to madness and the suffering of your own actions.

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  • University/College: University of California

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 12 July 2017

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