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Heart of Darkness and MacBeth Joseph Conrad and William Shakespeare are not traditionally paired up for a critical analysis However the characters MacBeth and Kurtz in MacBeth and Heart of Darkness respectively prove to be worthy of comparison MacBeth and Kurtz share many common characteristics both have vaulting ambition that leads both to their success and their demise a superiority complex and both make similar sacrifices to achieve their goal Despite their many similarities MacBeth and Kurtz differ in many respects The way the authors present each character varies greatly and the way each interacts with his surroundings contrast a great deal The circumstances that follow their actions also differ since the societies in which they live are not similar in any aspect Through their many similarities and differences MacBeth and Kurtz prove to be characters filled with evilness and upon a closer examination the differing degrees of that evilness are seen Both MacBeth and Kurtzs initial actions are dominated by ambition MacBeth chooses to overthrow King Duncan for the sole purpose of his own political gain He even admits that he has no spur To prick the sides of his intent but only Vaulting ambition which oerleaps itself And falls on thother Act I sc 7 Despite many other good reasons for overthrowing a king such as for the good of the state or if the king is infringing on the peoples rights MacBeth claims only selfish intentions Like MacBeth Kurtz too starts his road to evil with ambition Kurtz in order to earn his Intendeds hand goes to Africa to make something of himself Instead of going on a heavenly mission to civilizeConrad 70 the savages Kurtzs intentions from the start are to make money as quickly as possible And he does This vaulting ambition leads both met to climb the ladder of success at a quick pace MacBeth is named Thane of Cawdor after one brave battle Kurtz is given
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