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Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutly as shown in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

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Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutly as shown in Shakespeare's Macbeth By Scott Donnelly English 30S IB Mr. Britton Dec. 19th, 2003 It is common knowledge that it is human nature to crave power. Also, that the more power that is acquired the more power hungry someone would become, and with this power they become more and more corrupt. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Macbeth showed this throughout the entire play. There was strict relationship between the amount of power Macbeth obtained and the corrupt acts he committed. When Macbeth had no title, or only the title of his father, Thane of Glamis, he did not exhibit corruption. But as he gained more power, such as gaining the title of Thane of Cawdor, his corruption became more and more evident. Macbeth was most destructive with the most amount of power and least destructive with the least amount of power. When Macbeth was Thane of Glamis he showed no sign of corrupt behavior. Macbeth was loyal to King Duncan. He faught battles for his country with courage, loyalty, and honor. He was known as "brave Macbeth" (Shakespeare 1. 2. 18) and compared to eagles and lions both strong, and brave creatures. When the witches told Macbeth that he would be, "Thane of Cawdor"(1. 3. 52) and "king"(1. 3. ...read more.


Macbeth's image of a heavenly figure is shattered and replaced with an image of a demon from hell. Macbeth had a coronation ceremony and became the official King of Scotland and, as King, obtained even more power. His increased degree of power was followed by an increase in evil acts and thoughts. As soon as Macbeth was in power he began to feel paranoid. He no longer considered his thought about the witches' proclamations insane, but took them seriously. He remembered them saying to Banquo that "Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none" (1. 3. 70). Macbeth wished to solve this problem by killing Banquo and his son. Despite the fact that Banquo was Macbeth's best friend, Macbeth wished to execute him to ensure his long reign and the reign of his heirs. Unlike the murder of Duncan, Macbeth sent murderers to kill Banquo and his son. Also unlike the murder of Duncan, Macbeth felt no guilt at all for the execution of two innocents. He was no longer courageous and filled with honour, but cowardly and paranoid. Macbeth not only showed his evil by killing his best friend, but by also attempting to kill Banquo's innocent son. Macbeth's power peaked when the witches' new proclamations displayed potential for a very long and unopposed rule. ...read more.


4). His name was also revealed as "a hotter name than any is in hell" (5. 7. 7-8) Being suggested as demon from hell, clearly hints the severity of Macbeth's evil and corruption. Macbeth continues to lose power when he realizes that Macduff was not born from a woman. He clearly loses power from when he thought the witches' predictions supported him. Macbeth's confidence, before this encounter, relied on the witches prediction that he could not be killed from anyone that was born from a woman. When this prediction came true Macbeth felt vulnerable and powerless. Macduff exclaimed, "Despair thy charm. / And let the angel whom thou still hast served/ Tell thee Macduff was from his mother's womb/ Untimely ripped" (5. 8. 17-20). At first, Macbeth was so amazed that he could not believe that Macduff was telling the truth. He became cowardly and fearful, saying, "I'll not fight with thee" (5. 8. 26). But, eventually, Macbeth found the courage and pride that he demonstrated at the beginning. Even though he knew that the odds were against him, Macbeth "will try the last"(5. 8. 37). Macduff eventually slew the broken tyrant Macbeth. As Macbeth gained power he became more and more vile, and as he lost that power he became the courageous and virtuous man he was before being corrupted. The relationship between corruption and power is a constant and is directly proportional throughout the play. It is obvious that Shakespeare was showing us through Macbeth the worst points of human nature. ...read more.

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