Last Updated 20 Apr 2022

Power Corrupts- Macbeth

Category Deception, Macbeth
Words 728 (2 pages)

Shakespeare composed a stunning tale filled with felony, havoc, and bloodshed. From the view of third person you are able to understand every character’s motives and reasoning, whether they be good or bad. Many times in this play actions seem to be one thing, but in reality are quite the opposite. The tale of Macbeth shows how power corrupts through greed, backstabbing, and secrecy. To a leader or best friend, Macbeth appears to be a loyal follower or companion, but after just a glimpse at power Macbeth turns on everyone without their knowledge, showing just how corruptive power can be.

The prophecies set off a chain reaction. The Weïrd Sisters chant to Macbeth, showering him with what he wants to hear, feeding his greed. They plant a seed in his head, if he can be the Thane of Cawdor and Glamis, why can’t he be the king? The Weïrd Sisters started a fire of corruption in Macbeth’s mind and left his victims to deal with it.

After the prophecies, Macbeth acts upon his greed to become king. The lure of power sets off a corruptive thought process unseen to the human eye, only visible to the reader. He chooses the evil way of getting things done, which causes a corrosive psychological stream of thoughts in both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Instead of letting fate take its course, Macbeth turns his back on the person who trusts him most, Kingunan.

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Macbeth invites the king over for a dinner and kills him while he is asleep. “I have done the deed. Didst thou not hear a noise?” (Shakespeare 55) A similar, sad fate is given to Banquo, Macbeth’s best friend and right hand man. Despite fighting together, side by side, Macbeth still becomes wary. His brain has already become corrupted from a thirst for power which causes Macbeth to trust no one. Without anyone knowing, Macbeth turns against his best friend. He hires a band of savage killers to take out his best friend and his son:

Know Banquo was your enemy
So is he mine, and in such bloody distance
That every minute of his being thrusts
Against my near’st of life. And though I could
With barefaced power sweep him from my sight
And bid my will avouch it, yet I must not,
For certain friends that are both his and mine,
Whose loves I may not drop, but wail his fall
Who I myself struck down. And thence it is
That I to your assistance do make love,
Masking the business from the common eye
For sundry weighty reasons. (Shakespeare 89)

Yet again an innocent man is murdered out of the blue, backstabbed by his fellow companion. Banquo, the trusting man he was, never stood a chance against the secretive strength of corruptive power.

The corrosive thought process even went as far as to cause Macbeth to kill children. The unforgiveable action of murdering wasn’t even given a second glance from the power hungry monster Macbeth had become. His townspeople, the people that stood behind him loyally, murdered without the blink of an eye. Although, his actions were not purely driven by greed, they were sufficiently cowardly actions, as well. Unable to face such a gruesome fate, he hires others to do his dirty work for him. “The castle of Macduff I will surprise, seize upon fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword.” (Shakespeare 131) Macbeth even turns his back on his spouse. Lady Macbeth goes crazy with all the grief and guilt of murder, and Macbeth couldn’t be bothered.

To an outsider, it appeared that Lady Macbeth was fine, but in reality she went insane. Macbeth knew this, but he couldn’t stop to help; the corrosive power craze he was in had gone too far and he couldn’t pull away. It didn’t matter that Lady Macbeth killed herself, Macbeth appeared as if he couldn’t be bothered. He went on with his plans of destruction, only to find a gruesome fate for himself. It took just a glimmer of power for Macbeth to turn on the people who trusted him the most. The power he thought he could receive corrupted his mind and caused him to go astray. With a motive to kill, Macbeth snuck behind the backs of his loved ones, and one by one took them all down. To the people he backstabbed, it appeared he was still on their side, but in reality he had turned on almost everyone without their knowledge.

Power Corrupts- Macbeth essay

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