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Ambition

16. Ambition

  1. Alger, Horatio author of a series of rags-to-riches stories. [Am. Lit.: Ragged Dick ]
  2. Bart, Lily sacrifices her principles and her chance for love in schemes to climb the social ladder. [Am. Lit.: The House of Mirth in Hart, 385]
  3. Chardon, Lucien (de Rubempré ) young writer determined to achieve fame and wealth. [Fr. Lit.: Balzac Lost Illusions in Magill II, 595]
  4. Claudius murders to gain throne; plots to keep it. [Br. Lit.: Hamlet ]
  5. Constance ambitious for her son Arthur. [Br. Lit.: King John ]
  6. Faustus, Doctor makes a pact with the devil to further his own ambitions. [Br. Lit.: The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus ]
  7. Golden Boy talented young violinist gives up musical career for the sake of wealth and fame as a boxer. [Am. Lit.: Odets Golden Boy in Magill III, 422]
  8. hollyhock traditional symbol of ambition. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 174]
  9. John, King aspiring, self-assertive king of mediocre character. [Br. Lit.: King John ]
  10. Macbeth aspires to political power. [Br. Lit.: Macbeth ]
  11. Macbeth, Lady stops at nothing to gain political power for husband. [Br. Lit.: Macbeth ]
  12. mountain laurel traditional symbol of ambition. [Flower Symbolism: Flora Symbolica, 175]
  13. Ragged Dick hero of a Horatio Alger rags-to-riches story. [Am. Lit.: Ragged Dick ]
  14. Roxana sleeps with the rich to get ahead in world. [Br. Lit.: Roxana, The Fortunate Mistress ]
  15. Sejanus chief minister of Emperor Tiberius uses seduction, conspiracy, and poisoning to gain the throne. [Br. Drama: Benét, 912]
  16. Slope, Rev. Obadiah vainly strives to advance himself in objectionable ways. [Br. Lit.: Trollope Barchester Towers in Magill I, 55]
  17. Sutpen, Thomas from poor origins, tries to gain aristocratic status. [Am. Lit.: Faulkner Absalom, Absalom in Magill I, 5]
  18. Tamburlaine Scythian bandit becomes king of Persia and ruler of Turkey and Babylon. [Br. Drama: Tamburlaine the Great in Magill I, 950]
  19. What Makes Sammy Run a dynamic but vicious opportunist attains success. [Am. Lit.: What Makes Sammy Run ]

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ambition

am·bi·tion / amˈbishən/ • n. a strong desire to do or to achieve something, typically requiring determination and hard work: her ambition was to become a model. ∎  desire and determination to achieve success: life offered few opportunities for young people with ambition.

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ambition

ambition XIV. — (O)F. — L. ambitiō, -ōn- going round to solicit votes, etc., f. ambīre, ambit- (see AMBIENT, -ITION).
So ambitious XIV. —(O)F. or L.

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ambition

ambitionashen, fashion, passion, ration •abstraction, action, attraction, benefaction, compaction, contraction, counteraction, diffraction, enaction, exaction, extraction, faction, fraction, interaction, liquefaction, malefaction, petrifaction, proaction, protraction, putrefaction, redaction, retroaction, satisfaction, stupefaction, subtraction, traction, transaction, tumefaction, vitrifaction •expansion, mansion, scansion, stanchion •sanction •caption, contraption •harshen, Martian •cession, discretion, freshen, session •abjection, affection, circumspection, collection, complexion, confection, connection, convection, correction, defection, deflection, dejection, detection, direction, ejection, election, erection, genuflection, imperfection, infection, inflection, injection, inspection, insurrection, interconnection, interjection, intersection, introspection, lection, misdirection, objection, perfection, predilection, projection, protection, refection, reflection, rejection, resurrection, retrospection, section, selection, subjection, transection, vivisection •exemption, pre-emption, redemption •abstention, apprehension, ascension, attention, circumvention, comprehension, condescension, contention, contravention, convention, declension, detention, dimension, dissension, extension, gentian, hypertension, hypotension, intention, intervention, invention, mention, misapprehension, obtention, pension, prehension, prevention, recension, retention, subvention, supervention, suspension, tension •conception, contraception, deception, exception, inception, interception, misconception, perception, reception •Übermenschen • subsection •ablation, aeration, agnation, Alsatian, Amerasian, Asian, aviation, cetacean, citation, conation, creation, Croatian, crustacean, curation, Dalmatian, delation, dilation, donation, duration, elation, fixation, Galatian, gyration, Haitian, halation, Horatian, ideation, illation, lavation, legation, libation, location, lunation, mutation, natation, nation, negation, notation, nutation, oblation, oration, ovation, potation, relation, rogation, rotation, Sarmatian, sedation, Serbo-Croatian, station, taxation, Thracian, vacation, vexation, vocation, zonation •accretion, Capetian, completion, concretion, deletion, depletion, Diocletian, excretion, Grecian, Helvetian, repletion, Rhodesian, secretion, suppletion, Tahitian, venetian •academician, addition, aesthetician (US esthetician), ambition, audition, beautician, clinician, coition, cosmetician, diagnostician, dialectician, dietitian, Domitian, edition, electrician, emission, fission, fruition, Hermitian, ignition, linguistician, logician, magician, mathematician, Mauritian, mechanician, metaphysician, mission, monition, mortician, munition, musician, obstetrician, omission, optician, paediatrician (US pediatrician), patrician, petition, Phoenician, physician, politician, position, rhetorician, sedition, statistician, suspicion, tactician, technician, theoretician, Titian, tuition, volition •addiction, affliction, benediction, constriction, conviction, crucifixion, depiction, dereliction, diction, eviction, fiction, friction, infliction, interdiction, jurisdiction, malediction, restriction, transfixion, valediction •distinction, extinction, intinction •ascription, circumscription, conscription, decryption, description, Egyptian, encryption, inscription, misdescription, prescription, subscription, superscription, transcription •proscription •concoction, decoction •adoption, option •abortion, apportion, caution, contortion, distortion, extortion, portion, proportion, retortion, torsion •auction •absorption, sorption •commotion, devotion, emotion, groschen, Laotian, locomotion, lotion, motion, notion, Nova Scotian, ocean, potion, promotion •ablution, absolution, allocution, attribution, circumlocution, circumvolution, Confucian, constitution, contribution, convolution, counter-revolution, destitution, dilution, diminution, distribution, electrocution, elocution, evolution, execution, institution, interlocution, irresolution, Lilliputian, locution, perlocution, persecution, pollution, prosecution, prostitution, restitution, retribution, Rosicrucian, solution, substitution, volution •cushion • resumption • München •pincushion •Belorussian, Prussian, Russian •abduction, conduction, construction, deduction, destruction, eduction, effluxion, induction, instruction, introduction, misconstruction, obstruction, production, reduction, ruction, seduction, suction, underproduction •avulsion, compulsion, convulsion, emulsion, expulsion, impulsion, propulsion, repulsion, revulsion •assumption, consumption, gumption, presumption •luncheon, scuncheon, truncheon •compunction, conjunction, dysfunction, expunction, function, junction, malfunction, multifunction, unction •abruption, corruption, disruption, eruption, interruption •T-junction • liposuction •animadversion, aspersion, assertion, aversion, Cistercian, coercion, conversion, desertion, disconcertion, dispersion, diversion, emersion, excursion, exertion, extroversion, immersion, incursion, insertion, interspersion, introversion, Persian, perversion, submersion, subversion, tertian, version •excerption

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Ambition

AMBITION

Ambition has two extreme senses, one good, the other bad, with interesting mixtures of legitimate thrustfulness and self-regarding pride falling between the two. The term comes from Latin ambitio (ambire, ambitus ), a going about seeking votes for an office; and as representing a desire for success according to the order of right reason, it is laudable and indeed obligatory, for such a desire is inseparable from a brave tackling of difficulties. Thus a man should resolutely prosecute the causes that will give him a full and rounded life, promote the standing of his family, enlarge and dignify the work on which he has set his heart, redound to the credit and glory of his country, and show forth the beauty of the Church. Above all, in a Christian sense, he will not be half-hearted in his response to the call to holiness and the apostolate: "Let your light shine before men" (Mt 5.16).

So considered, ambition is characteristic of the great-hearted man of the Nichomachean Ethics, of the magnanimity that is the first potential part of the cardinal virtue of fortitude as described in the Summa theologiae of St. Thomas Aquinas (ST 2a2ae, 129), or the large-mindedness and grandeur praised by Massillon and the court preachers in the high century of Louis Quatorze. Found in people of spirit who seek nothing but the best, its character, according to Aristotle, the Stoics, and the medieval theologians, appears both from its positive notes and the contrary vices it disdains. It is the love of honor as this implies the resplendence of virtue rather than its fame. Indeed on occasion magnanimity will fight with the enterprise and doggedness of fortitude, and the authors note its special connection with fiducia in the sense of the keeping of one's word whatever befalls, and with securitas, the steady confidence that is never down-hearted. Yet always it keeps a sense of proportion and acts between the vices of excess and defect. On the one hand it avoids the pushfulness (praesumptio ) of acting for what is out of the question or not deserved, and the vaingloriousness (inanis gloria ) that sets too great a store on human approbation. On the other hand it masters the faint-heartedness (pusillanimitas ) that causes one to fail to attempt to do what he can. "The kingdom of heaven suffers violence" (Mt 11.12). Yet as bound up with men's contending emotions, the passions of the irascible appetite, magnanimity is turned into sin. So the poet sees ambition as the last infirmity of a noble mind, and St. Thomas treats ambitio as a disorder and vice.

Charity is not ambitious; it does not seek its own (1 Cor 13.5). This indeed is the keynote of the sin, a self-seeking that takes honor out of its context and isolates it as a good for oneself, wanting praise for an excellence that is not possessed, or hugging the praise to oneself as if one's efforts deserved it without the help of God, or as if it could be hoarded and not turned to the benefit of others. It is this inordinateness that makes it a moral failure or sin, and it is this extravagance in honor-seeking that makes it a sin against magnanimity.

Bibliography: t. aquinas, Summa theologiae 2a2ae, 131. r. a. gauthier, Magnanimité: L'Idéal de la grandeur dans la philosophie païenne et la théologie chrétienne (Paris 1951); "Fortitude," The Virtues and States of Life, ed. a. m. henry, tr. r. j. olsen and g. t. lennon (Theology Library 4; Chicago 1957) 487531. a. beugnet, Dictionnaire de théologie catholique, ed. a. vacant et al. (Paris 190350) 1:940942. r. brouillard, Catholicisme. Hier, aujourd'hui et demain, ed. g. jacquemet (Paris 1947) 1:407409.

[t. gilby]

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Ambition

Ambition ★½ 1991 (R)

Scriptwriter/ star Phillips gets a bone for chutzpah by taking an unsavory lead role; his character torments a paroled psycho so that the killer will kill again and inspire a true-crime bestseller. The plot looks good on paper, but onscreen it's padded and unconvincing. 99m/C VHS . Lou Diamond Phillips, Clancy Brown, Cecilia Peck, Richard Bradford, Willard Pugh, Grace Zabriskie, Katherine Armstrong, John David (J.D.) Cullum, Haing S. Ngor; D: Scott Goldstein; W: Lou Diamond Phillips; M: Leonard Rosenman.

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