Macbeth by William Shakespeare

746 Words3 Pages
The pursuit of power and constant struggle to maintain it leads to the deterioration of the mind. In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare demonstrates this concept through Macbeth’s struggle for power and his subsequent down fall. This is evident in his complete loss of honour and loyalty, his new found constitution of duplicity and his lack of value for life itself.

To begin, Macbeth loses his sense of integrity slowly throughout the play until he has none remaining. Macbeth is introduced as a valourous and successful general. His drive for power, however, causes him to taint the perfect image of himself he has created. Once the witches flaunt the idea of being king in front of the man, his natural impulse to gain power and prestige is ignited and he begins a rampage in order to achieve his goal. Its this human quest for power that causes his mind to disregard truths he once held selfevident, such as valour, loyalty and patriotism, giving way to a cruel wrath. The goal of increased power causes Macbeth’s mind to distort his morality and make diabolical deciscions, such as killing the king he once loved so dearly. Futhermore, the threat of losing power also causes Macbeth great mental distress and leads to further loss of loyalty and morality. He fears Banquo is plotting against him shortly after his coronation and hires murderers to kill his old best friend. This demonstrates Macbeth’s paranoia being placed above rationality, due to his fear of losing power. “ We have scotch’d the snake, not kill’d it;”(III,ii,15). This quotation demonstrates Macbeth’s desire to hold on to his fleeting power by illustrating that he does not feel safe in his current position. He is prepared to defy his moral compass and loyalty and kill those he loves...

... middle of paper ...

... Birnam Wood makes its way up Dunsinane Hill, cause him to still seek further clout, despite the incomprehensible odds against him. The thought of omnipotence, when dangled in front of Macbeth causes him to lose sight of protecting his own life, either by fleeing or surrendering, because he believes that he is capable of obtaining even more power. Therefore, Macbeth’s loss of perception on the value of the human life clearly demonstrates the effects that human desire for power has on the mind.

In conclusion, the human ambition for increased amount of power and influence causes the degradation of morality. This is proven through Macbeth’s new found untrustworthiness, his transformation into a deceitful tyrant and his loss of meaning for his life, and the lives of others. It is clear that power can transform all those who seek to gain and/or control it drastically.

More about Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Open Document