The Duplicitous Nature of Macbeth by Shakespeare

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Power can transform even the most loyal of men. In Shakespeare’s gloomy and morbid Macbeth, nothing is as it seems. Even the most loyal characters are duplicitous in their nature, exemplified by Macbeth. The greatest Scottish warrior becomes power hungry in his quest to re-kindle his relationship with his wife, Lady Macbeth, and is thrown over the edge when he is not appointed the Prince of Cumberland, an honor he feels he deserves. This same hunger for power ultimately destroys Macbeth, leading him to betray all those he loves, including king Duncan, his friend Banquo, and his wife. Macbeth begins his journey of betrayal with his cousin and beloved king, Duncan. Macbeth reveals his deep-rooted desire for power when Duncan announces the Prince of Cumberland is Malcolm. Macbeth’s burning desire for power is evident when he squeals, “ The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step/ On which I must fall down or else o’erleap, / For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; / Let not light see my black and deep desires” (Mac. 1. 4. 55-58). When Macbeth does not receive the honor, he considers it a betrayal and views it as another obstacle in his path towards power. He even implores that the stars hide their light so he can kill the king.
When Macbeth seizes power, he disposes of Banquo to solidify his throne. Before his search for power, Macbeth and Banquo, the two valiant soldiers, were always at each other’s side. But then Macbeth offers Banquo an opportunity to raise his status by helping to commit regicide. Banquo refuses to help and Macbeth realizes he then must kill his best friend to preserve his power. Banquo suggests he won’t harm Duncan when he reveals, “So I lose none/ In seeking to augment it, but still keep/ My bosom franc...

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...ncan appoints Malcolm as the Prince of Cumberland. He takes matters in his own hands by going on a killing frenzy, disposing of anyone in his way to becoming king, without any regard of the implications. Macbeth’s betrayal of loved ones correlates with Walter White’s betrayal of his family in Breaking Bad. With the little time he has left in his life, Walter uses his knowledge of chemistry to produce methamphetamine. He does this so his family is provided for after he’s gone. However, he keeps this alternative career hidden from his family and slowly becomes consumed by his alter ego “Heisenberg,” a man so hungry for power and money that his relationships with his loved ones suffers. While Walter thought he was creating a better life for his family, in reality he was just tearing it apart. Likewise, Macbeth’s hunger for power causes suffering for his loved ones.

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