“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... ... middle of paper ... ...U of Pennsylvania Press, 1994) Domhoff, G. W. (1990). The power elite and the state: How policy Is made in America. Hawthorne, NY: Aldine de Gruyter. http://www.ehow.com/about_6635615_meaning-graft-corruption https://answers.yahoo.com/question 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.
Power can be used to a person’s benefit, but it also can bring about the corruption of a human’s character and moral foundations. Unfortunately, power is the key to the downfall of events that occur throughout Macbeth. When Macbeth is given prophecies about his future, he is skeptical at first. However once one of the prophecies is fulfilled, Macbeth becomes power hungry and he seeks to know the unknown. As he seeks the unknown, his mind begins to corrupt as he questions the extent to which he will go in order to gain the power that he desires so strongly. Eventually, Macbeth’s morals are defeated as his selfish desires silence all goodness. The corruption overtakes Macbeth and his behaviors are now purely controlled by his ambition to gain
... As Macbeth gained power he became more and more vile, and as he lost
An idea such as power establishes itself in most societies throughout the world. Power sets the basis for order and civilization, but it also causes chaos and collides with other human instincts such as greed and ambition. Power presents itself in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth in a confusing manner. Macbeth yearns to gain power and has the means to gain it, but the method of his gaining of power have been questioned by critics since its inscription in 1623. Macbeth, while tyrannical in gaining his power in the murdering of Duncan, sets the premise of the story and in this murder makes a name for himself on his leadership qualities. A man’s gain of power should not determine who they are as a ruler or even
..., Macbeth becomes everyone’s enemy, he in convinced he is invincible which leads to his inevitable downfall and demise. Macbeth was a perfect example of how correct society is when it is said, "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it". It means not everyone does the right thing to get to where they are, people use and abuse one another for what they want. Although it may be deceiving no one cares as long as they get what they want. Power is literally what rules the world, corruption is what happens to the ones who gain to much power. In other words there is no getting around the statement power leads to corruption.
Perhaps the most fundamental theme of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is the inherent corruptibility of even a seemingly good man when ambition turns to greed, and Macbeth himself exemplifies this concept throughout the play. While at the outset he is seen to be loyal to his king, generally considered trustworthy, and displaying numerous other laudable qualities, Macbeth ultimately succumbs to the influence of those around him and becomes unequivocally evil, setting aside all his previously held morals and coming to be driven only by his lust for power. This transition is brought about by a wide variety of factors and plays an integral role in the development of the plot. In his tragedy Macbeth, William Shakespeare employs
Throughout The Tragedy of Macbeth, we see Macbeth change from a noble and brave soldier into a mere shadow of his former self. We meet Macbeth after a battle, the result of which has him named Thane of Cawdor. From this position, he falls to a paranoid man willing to do anything to remain in power. We can see his deterioration from the murders of Duncan and Banquo, Macbeth's second meeting with the witches, his treatment of Macduff's castle and his mental condition just before he is murdered.
Macbeth shows how greed and ambition can bring down a person as well as others and how the changes of power occur because of loyalty and betrayal. Macbeth is the play’s main unhappy character. The play tells of Macbeth's greedy thirst for power is a dangerous trait.
Humans are always fascinated by power. Sadly, they do not realize the danger of it until it is too late. In the play Macbeth, William Shakespeare's underscores how Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are both consumed by power. In the beginning, Lady Macbeth dominates Macbeth, manipulating him to kill Duncan. After the death of Duncan, Macbeth becomes ambitious, and hires murderers to kill Banquo without notifying Lady Macbeth. Even though he is a decorated soldier, when Macbeth rises to power, he becomes ruthless. On the other hand, Lady Macbeth becomes weak, and insane. Shakespeare illustrates how Macbeth’s obsession with power undermines his moral judgement, leads to his mental deterioration, and ultimately results in his death.
Lady Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare’s most famous and frightening female characters. As she is Macbeth’s wife, her role is significant in his rise and fall from royalty. She is Macbeth’s other half. During Shakespearean times, women were regarded as weak insignificant beings that were there to give birth and look beautiful. They were not thought to be as intelligent or equal to men. Though in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is the highest influence in Macbeth’s life. Her role was so large; in fact, that she uses her position to gain power, stay strong enough to support her unstable Lord, and fails miserably while their relationship falls apart. Everything about Lady Macbeth is enough to create the perfect villain because of her ability to manipulate everyone around her. It appears that even she can’t resist the perfect crime.
Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Lady Macbeth is one of the perfect examples of the total corruption power and ambition can cause. She starts out confident, sure of her ambition and how to gain it. She believed that by becoming a man, becoming what she thought was a creature who would stop at nothing to attain power and it's privileges, she could gain what she needed without being impeded by emotions such as remorse, or pity. She calls upon the witches to give her these things and so creates an interesting relationship with them despite never actually meeting them. Finally, however, Lady Macbeth appears not to be able to hold her cool and collected self together. She begins sleep-walking and it is here that we see her fear truly appear. She becomes corrupted not only in body and soul, but fully in the mind as well.
To become powerful, is to become corrupt and The Tragedy of Macbeth is a prime example. In William Shakespeare's tragic tale, a young noblemen soon becomes corrupt when he is given the opportunity to become king. His need for power and safety drives him to corruption, ultimately killing off anyone who stands in his path: innocent or not. Throughout the play, many characters portray the impact power has on a relationship: Lady Macbeth and Macbeth, Banquo and Macbeth, Macduff and Macbeth and many more. While all these characters were affected by power in the play, Banquo and Macbeth's relationship best demonstrates the effect of power. By examining the effect that power can have on relationships in The Tragedy of Macbeth, it is clear that Banquo and Macbeth's relationship represent best what the impact of power on friendship can be like. This ultimately illustrates that the need for power can drive people to take extreme measures in capturing that power.
The main theme of Macbeth-the destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints-finds its most powerful expression in the play's two main characters. Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement. He kills Duncan against his better judgment and afterward stews in guilt and paranoia. Toward the end of the play he descends into a kind of frantic, boastful madness. Lady Macbeth, on the other hand, pursues her goals with greater determination, yet she is less capable of withstanding the repercussions of her immoral acts. One of Shakespeare's most forcefully drawn female characters, she spurs her husband mercilessly to kill Duncan and urges him to be strong in the murder's aftermath, but she is eventually driven to distraction by the effect of Macbeth's repeated bloodshed on her conscience. In each case, ambition helped, of course, by the malign prophecies of the witches is what drives the couple to ever more terrible atrocities. The problem, the play suggests, is that once one decides to use violence to further one?s quest for power, it is difficult to stop. There are always potential threats to the throne?Banquo, Fleance, Macduff?and it is always tempting to use violent means to dispose of them.
Through himself, the relationships he creates and destroys, and the deterioration of nations, Macbeth's character proves the power of ambition and its ability to corrupt one's life. Macbeth realizes that his motivation is his ambition is stronger than his will to act upon what is morally just, mentally deteriorating him inside. Furthermore, his ambition not only affects himself, however destroys his relationships with those around him as his selfish goals hurt others when achieved. At last, his tyrannous manner developed from his ambitious goals corrupts Scotland, the country he leads, as well as his connection with other countries. When one is driven by a want, happiness is attained through achieving this goal; but by willingly choosing to put forth desires before moral judgement, ambition holds the power to corrupt one's life.
Macbeth is a play revolving around many key ideas observed in Shakespeare’s time with various messages communicated to the audience successfully, despite the lack of the cinematic effects present in today’s literature entertainment. The interweaved themes of immoral ambition and corruption are displayed throughout the text, unveiling the corruptive nature of one’s excessive greed for supremacy, affecting both themselves and others. This idea in Macbeth is successfully conveyed to the audience in Shakespeare’s time through the literary devices of characterisation, soliloquy and plot.