Macbeth: Corruption of Power

analytical Essay
561 words
561 words

Even after four hundred years, Shakespeare's plays still continue to resonate with modern audiences. This is because Shakespeare's plays explore universal themes which still remain relevant in today's society. In Macbeth, Shakespeare dramatically explores how one man's excessive ambition and greed for power led him to tyranny and absolute destruction. The ideas explored in Macbeth still remain relevant in the contemporary world where individuals can get tempted by wealth and power and forget all sense of moral direction. In the beginning of the play, Macbeth is portrayed as a courageous and well-respected soldier who is loyal to his King and country. He is described by one of King Duncan's men as “brave Macbeth.” As a result of his bravery on the battlefield, Duncan decides to reward Macbeth with a new title – the Thane of Cawdor – as the last Thane was proven to be disloyal; however, Macbeth is unaware of this, and this creates tension in the audience. The opening scenes show that Macbeth is a powerful and courageous man who is not naturally inclined to do wrong, but is capable of being brutal when he needs to be. The meeting with the witches also reveal that Macbeth is a very ambitious man who craves an even greater power. There is contrast between Macbeth’s and Banquo’s attitudes towards the witches’ prophecies. Whilst Banquo dismissed the witches’ prophecies, Macbeth was “rapt withal.” This shows that Macbeth has thought about being “king hereafter.” Macbeth's first soliloquy reveals his deep desire to be king. His soliloquy also reveals that he would do anything to achieve it. Macbeth's desire to become king is strongly supported by his wife, Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is a highly ambitious woman who, like her husband, is willing to do anything to obtain power. Shakespeare uses a series of imagery to vividly portray the desire for power in Lady Macbeth's soliloquy: “Come, you spirits/That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,/And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full/Of direst cruelty!” To achieve her ambition, Lady Macbeth urges Macbeth “to catch the nearest way.” This means she wants him to kill Duncan so that he can become king. However, she fears that Macbeth is “too full o' th' milk of human kindness” to “catch the nearest way.” When Macbeth is reluctant to kill Duncan, Lady Macbeth starts attacking his masculinity. “Then you were a man,” she said. Lady Macbeth also uses the power of emotional blackmail to manipulate Macbeth into killing Duncan.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how shakespeare's plays continue to resonate with modern audiences because they explore universal themes which remain relevant in society.
  • Analyzes how macbeth is portrayed as a courageous and well-respected soldier who is loyal to his king and country. his first soliloquy reveals his deep desire to be king.
  • Analyzes how lady macbeth's desire to become king is strongly supported by her husband.
  • Analyzes how macbeth's final soliloquy reveals that power has not given him the satisfaction he expected.
  • Concludes that shakespeare's macbeth shows what happens when one’s greed for power corrupts and destroys the possessor.
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