How Does Shakespeare Present Power In Macbeth

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One of humanity’s greatest mysteries is power. True power is subjective, however, still desired by many. In William Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shakespeare analyzes what power is and why it is enticing. The play follows Macbeth, a soldier and husband, who after receiving a prophecy from witches becomes obsessed with power, resulting in him committing multiple acts of violence. Shakespeare’s analysis of power is fully revealed during Macbeth’s soliloquy regarding his envy of his friend Banquo in what Edith Wharton calls an “illuminating episode”. Through this soliloquy Shakespeare challenges the perceptions of power and analyzes why it is craved and how it is acquired. Shakespeare attributes personal insecurity as a reason …show more content…

An overemphasis on being powerful is what leads Macbeth to his downfall. Shakespeare is telling his audience that power does not exist. Macbeth strives to be powerful, but in this soliloquy he is consumed by his emotions and confined to his fate. Macbeth is angered by the apparent futility of his desires for power.Macbeth reflects on the fact that all of his heinous actions will only be a benefit for the children of Banquo. “For them the gracious Duncan have I murdered,/ Put rancors in the vessel of my peace/ Only for them,” (3.1.71-73). Macbeth’s biggest flaw is that he is fighting an unwinnable battle against his fate. This soliloquy features Macbeth at his most emotionally vulnerable as he expresses his feelings of inadequacy and angst at being forgotten. After delivering this soliloquy, Macbeth meets with murderers and slowly sheds his humanity and becomes a barbaric monster. This is the illuminating moment because Shakespeare reveals with this soliloquy that this monster was created by universal human emotions. Anybody could be Macbeth. The monster is created in response to our own perceptions of ourselves and the world around us. Therefore, Shakespeare urges his audience not to value dominance as power and to not value perception over reality. Through Macbeth, Shakespeare undercuts what society views as power. In this illuminating moment Macbeth becomes aware of the transient nature of his reign as king. Even with a crown and scepter, Macbeth remains powerless in the shackles of humanity’s inevitable

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