Last Updated 28 Jul 2020

Power in Shakespeare

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Power has significantly marked the society where we are in current development. Power is one of the best ways to control a society, yet it impacts the society in a negative way when it comes to distributing rights and opportunities. That is, since it involves the worst issues within the government known as corruption. In William Shakespeare’s play, Richard III, and Aristophanes’ play, Lysistrata, both authors employ the major role and concept of power.

Both Shakespeare’s and Aristophanes’ approach to power has influenced the understanding of power and through their examples; one can employ their ideas as to why sometimes I feel powerless or powerful in my current life of a student. The views expressed by these authors are focused politically to power, which make people reflect on what power means; this involves attraction and subjugates provocation. The power is so great that it will always be seen negatively. With power one can organize groups but, there needs to be an authority.

For example, like those with the political, economic, military or religious power. Yet, the problem comes when the abuse of power arises and when having too much power, the mind can be corrupted. It is necessary that one should have a good posture when power comes into hand and one should see it as something to improve on rather than to enhance on the small things that one does not need. Power should be seen as the ability to control to do the right thing and for that reason, be able to accomplish positive changes for the rest of the community.

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As a student, one has the ability to have power or not to have power either by sitting in a regular classroom or being at the university in general. At the university, there are laws, rules and authority that needs to be followed and for that reason a student could sometimes feel powerless. For instance, there is a rule at FAU that a student can’t be absent from a class for a certain amount of days. The student is able to feel powerful because he or she has the ability to not go to class.

Yet, once he or she reaches or passes the amount of days, the student will be automatically dropped out and in addition will receive a penalty for it. So a student can feel powerless because it has no other choice but to go to the class just so he or she wouldn’t get penalized. In other words, one could explain how different styles of power could have similar characteristics through the norms and rules that exist today. For example, the power exerted from a government of any country must be abided by the people who inhabit it through compliance ith the same laws and standards. Also, the student of any university must also follow the same rules and laws established by the university. As you can see, this example represents a power running scheme of a major and minor scale, but with a similar goal, which is how to maintain order where there is always power. The penalty is always the consequence, that is, if you decide to take too much power into your own hands. If one has power, he or she should be able to manipulate it well enough to not let it go into the wrong hands.

Similarly in Richard III, Shakespeare employs Hastings as a lord with honor who always remains loyal and trustworthy to the family. But when he gives all his trust and all his power to Richard, Richard ends up killing him. With power comes a consequence, and coinciding to this idea, that is why with power, corruption always occur. To that reason, a student will feel powerless because he or she has no other choice but to attend class. In order to be able to advance and be successful in class, you have to depend on your surroundings rather than self-advancement.

One should be able to find peers and ask them what they did the whole class. Also, one is able to get the notes and basically get everything of what the teacher did without being in class. This being said, a student will feel powerful only if they have their surroundings by the palm of their hand. If the student is going to use his or her power, it will need to depend on its surroundings in order to be able to get the power that he or she wants. As said by Shakespeare, “Which done, God take King Edward to his mercy, and leave the world for me to bustle in, for then I’ll marry Warwick’s youngest daughter” (5).

At school, one cannot depend on himself or herself, but on the teacher and on the peers. In Shakespeare view, he is showing how Richard views his power and Richard needs his surroundings and his superiority in order to get to King Edward’s throne. As for Aristophanes, Lysistrata would have never been able to succeed if she did not have the help of the other women. Her use of manipulation helped her gain power and she was able to take back her man and bring peace to the city. In addition, manipulating is being able to handle, control, or use someone or something cleverly and skillfully for one's own advantage.

A student can exercise the power to manipulate other students not to follow the rules or establish academic programs. Students who do not have responsibility and honesty are able to induce other students not to follow their school schedule, for example the student’s class attendance. The student’s friends will tell them to not attend class, go to the beach, or miss class just to miss it. And likewise, they are able to decrease the academic level in their classes because they assume no responsibility and maturity with the commitment to remain in a serious institution such as a university.

These students still depend on their parents and since they know their parents will pay everything for them, they get low self-esteem and they won’t be able to value themselves and appreciate what they have. For this reason, they are people who have no responsibility and have no commitment when it comes to effort and it will be reflected once they attend the university. Therefore, that is why they influence other students to do the same. Aristophanes explains how the women were able to manipulate the power and strength of their husbands and warriors, exerting some manipulation of their womanhood and wife.

Similarly, Shakespeare speaks of Elizabeth’s power over King Edward. By then, Richard is seeing the king as being weak and being handled by women. “Why, this it is, when men are ruled by women; my Lady Grey his wife, Clarence, ‘tis she that tempers him to this extremity” (Shakespeare 3). Comparing the previous texts, a student to a certain extent, can manipulate by being able to respect and enforce the university rights. For example, receiving an academic background in the area specified and chosen by the student and freely expressing its ideas and not being able to get punished because of them.

This is why universities should take responsibility to train professionals and specialists in various areas of knowledge, as well as the formation of authentic citizens with moral and ethical responsibilities committed to the social reality around them. In Lysistrata, the women had a hard time being heard by the town and similarly, I have that same problem with my life as a college student. Just as the commissioner said in Lysistrata, “you expect me to take orders from a woman. I’d die first” (Aristophanes 91).

The men during that era did not take the women into consideration and they were never taken into account. They were always ignored and predominated the power of men. Aristophanes portrayed the women into another new level by giving them the importance that they needed. Although they were only valued as a house wife, Aristophanes took into consideration how important sex is in the life of men, and gave power to the women using their ingenuity. Due to the fact that FAU has a great amount of tudents not only in the school in general but in the classes as well, the professors cannot provide a personalized education for each student. For that reason, that is why students sometimes feel ignored. It is very complicated for a professor to dictate a class with an abundance of students and the time assigned by the university because it limits them to give just a general class. In the other hand, it is not the professor’s fault but it is the university’s in general as to why most students are ignored. It is up on our time to go to the professor’s office hours just to have a conversation from person to person.

People usually ask what they have to do in order to get to power while having the connections and influences and at the same time being a normal and ordinary person. For me, the answer or explanation to this question is due to my presence here at Florida Atlantic University because it is obtained through preparation, school work, and knowledge. For that reason, there is a famous phrase said by nearly everyone today that “knowledge is power”. Yet, through the knowledge that I gain, I have the ability and power to make my own decisions.

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Power in Shakespeare. (2016, Dec 29). Retrieved from https://phdessay.com/power-in-shakespeare-178205/

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