Frankenstein and Macbeth Comparative Essay

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Sutharsan Raguram
Ms. Andreopoulos
ENG 3U1
Friday, May-04-12
“Power as a Corrupting Force in Frankenstein and Macbeth”
Power as a corrupting force has been present from the beginning of time and is often revealed in many works of literature. In the novel Frankenstein by Marry Shelly and Macbeth by William Shakespeare, corruption of power is well brought forth in the characters in both texts. In both stories, characters reveal power as a corrupting force through their thirst of knowledge. Characters also reveal power as a corrupting force through character change. In addition, the character’s action justify how corrupted they really are. Therefore, power corrupts the individuals because of character’s extreme ambition which leads to their demise.

Victor, Macbeth and the monster’ extreme ambition gets them seek for knowledge that leads to gaining power which corrupts them leading to their demise. Macbeth is a very good nobleman because of his loyalty to Scotland and during the battle he defeats Macdownald, Norway and the Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth’s thirst for knowledge and extreme ambition originates when he is walking and sees the witches for the first time. Witches tell Macbeth, “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis. All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor. All hail Macbeth that shalt be king hereafter.” (1.3.45-50) Macbeth’s extreme ambition is driven by the information he obtains from the witches which give him power. The information gives him power because he is given a prediction on the future which gives him a very accurate anticipation

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on what is to come so he can act upon it for his own selfish reasons. As soon as the prophecy, the first thing that crossed his mind is to kill Duncan whom is king of King of Scotland. Macbeth knows he has to kill Duncan so he “Shalt be king hereafter.” Duncan Visits Macbeth’s castle, while Macbeth and his wife Lady Macbeth plan to kill Duncan. The couple’s plan was to murder Duncan and put false blame on the guards by placing the same daggers that pierced through Duncan. Knowledge is power and power corrupts. Knowing what is to come gives him power and the power he has corrupts him; killing Duncan, betraying his own country and leader whom is very close to God according to the chain of being. Macbeth cannot think straight, he apparently saw a “bloody dagger” floating and hearing voices. Hallucination is a symptom of corruption and another sign would be his moral conscience which is a sign of soon to come demise. He sounds like he has moral conscience which is revealed by the quotation “As his host, who should against the murder shut the door, not bear the knife himself.” (1.7.10-12) but Macbeth clearly doesn’t have a moral conscience because he still ended up killing the innocent and nurturing king and this just shows that Macbeth is diagnosed with corruption. Macbeth’s thirst for knowledge is further compounded when he feels in danger, especially after seeing Banquo as a ghost and a war that is yet to come. Macbeth goes to the witches for more information. The witches provide Macbeth three apparitions : “Beware Macduff, beware the Thane of Fife. Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh and scorn the power of man for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth. Macbeth shall never be vanquish’d be until great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill come against him.” (4.1.70-95) The witches prophecies give Macbeth knowledge which gives him power because he is given information on the future and the

Raguram 3 problem is that Macbeth has a lot of trust in the witches which he really doesn’t know the witches are really deceptive. Another problem is that Macbeth’s cockiness will lead him to his demise. Macbeth feels that is impossible for a forest to move and a guy to be born not from a mother....
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