How Power Corrupts in Macbeth Essay

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“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (John Dalberg-Acton, 1st Baron Acton)

It is in human nature that the more power one desires the more corrupt actions one must do to attain it. In Shakespeare’s tragedy of Macbeth, a Scottish noble's craving for power leads him to do terrible deeds that leads to his demise. Shakespeare shows that power corrupts by using Macbeth who corrupts under the thought of have power over others. Macbeth becomes corrupt under the thought of becoming king and gaining almost complete control over the people that he rules. Macbeth wants the power badly enough to do horrible deeds such as commit regicide. Lady Macbeth becomes very ambitious and allows herself to become seduced to the idea of becoming Queen. Her ruthlessness urges Macbeth to commit regicide by questioning his love for her and his own manhood.

Jane Brendon, a female critic on Macbeth comments on the Lady Macbeth’s association with Macbeth, the hero, to commit crimes which tend to show that the corruption of Macbeth is previously designed and the result that they got was foretold:
Lady Macbeth certainly had the upper hand over her weak husband; she found it easy to manipulate him into murder and then getting him to think it was his own idea!

She even insults him by telling him that the only way he’ll be able to prove his manhood to her is to commit murder, since he hasn’t already proved it to her by “giving her a son.” That was a very, very harsh insult because in those times, males were everything. (p.9, The Follies of Power)

The essence of Macbeth lies not only in the fact that it is written by the universal talent William Shakespeare; the royal-conspiracy, the political unethical activity, the killin...

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...U of Pennsylvania Press,

Domhoff, G. W. (1990). The power elite and the state: How policy Is made in America. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.

John Wain, The Living World of Shakespeare: A Playgoer’s Guide (London: Macmillan, 1965), 23.

Leonard Tennenhouse, Power on Display: The Politics of Shakespeare’s Genres (New York: Methuen, 1986

Mann, M. (1977). States ancient and modern. Archives of European Sociology, 18, 226-298.

Mann, M. (1993). The sources of social power: The rise of classes and nation-states, 1760-1914 (Vol. 2). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Merriam-Webster, Incorporated

William Shakespeare, Macbeth, in The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Ware,
Hertfordshire, England: Wordsworth Editions, Ltd., 1996), I.v.25-28.

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