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Macbeth's Obsession with Power

"I'll fight till from my bones my flesh be hacked." (Act 5, Scene 3). Phrases as forceful as Macbeth's quote are not common day language, in fact, it is used except in times of intense emotion. Although the diction of Macbeth's words are from the Elizabethan Age, it's message rings true and clear. Macbeth clearly will oppose anything standing in the way of his passion. Critics often debate over the what tragic flaw of Macbeth lead to his downfall. Was it ambition or Lady Macbeth's influence? Hardly so. It was an obsession of power that Macbeth desired so much that led to his compulsive fixation and preoccupation of obtaining his desire by any and all means necessary. Thus, he inevitably lost touch with reality and became irrational, unreasonable, and myopic which is clearly shown through his decisions. Macbeth had a downfall because of what he did and what he desired, and he could blame no one but himself.

Macbeth is first introduced as a war hero, slayer of the Norweyans. He is then introduced to prophesy by three witches. They prophesize how he will become first Thane of Cawdor and then king. "All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!...Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter." (Act 1 Scene 3). Macbeth becomes thane and starts to believe in the prophesies if the witches. What first started as inquisitiveness and doubt, soon became fate and truth as the Bible is to Christians. Macbeth began to believe the next prophesy. In fact, not only would he become king, he made it his personal obligation and responsibility to see that it became so. With a little bit of nagging (that is the best term to use) from Lady Macbeth, Macbeth chooses to fulfill his de...

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...ted and Consulted:

Chute, Lily B. "Macbeth : A Study in Power." Readings on Macbeth. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1999. 126-35.

Foakes, Francis. "A New Perspective of Macbeth." Readings on Macbeth. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1999. 58-64.

Gill, Roma, ed. Macbeth. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977.

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Leong, Virginia. Hamlet and Shakespeare Links. 14 Apr. 2000 <http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Parthenon/6261/shax.html>.

Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. Elements of Literature. Sixth ed. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1997.

Wills, Gary. "The Historical Context of Macbeth." Readings on Macbeth. Ed. Clarice Swisher. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc., 1999. 30-37.
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