The Count of Monte Cristo
How we cite our quotes:
"In any case, even the most corrupt of us finds it hard to believe in evil unless it is based on some interest. We reject the idea of harm done for no cause and without gain as anomalous." (76.6)
Perhaps, because we cannot think of ourselves doing anything unreasonable, we have a hard time believing someone else would do wrong without expecting something in return.
"You lapsed into poverty and you knew hunger. You had spent half a life in envy that you could have spent in profitable toil, and you were already thinking about crime when God offered you a miracle, when God, by my hands, sent you a fortune in the midst of your deprivation—a fortune that was splendid for you, who had never possessed anything. But this unexpected, unhoped-for, unheard-of fortune was not enough for you, as soon as you owned it. You wanted to double it. How? By murder. You did double it, and God took it away from you by bringing you to human justice." (83.54)
In Caderousse's case, ambition only means one thing: trouble, and lots of it.
"And all this, good Lord, because my heart, which I thought was dead, was only numbed; because it awoke, it beat; because I gave way to the pain of that beating which had been aroused in my breast by the voice of a woman!
"And yet," the count went on, lapsing more and more into anticipation of the dreadful future that Mercédès had made him accept, "and yet it is impossible that that woman, with such a noble heart, could for purely selfish reasons have agreed to let me be killed when I am so full of life and strength. It is not possible that she should take her maternal love, or, rather, her maternal delirium, that far! Some virtues, when taken to the extreme, become crimes." (90.5-6, our emphasis)
The last line says it all: unchecked ambition can be dangerous, and sometimes deadly.