Power in Macbeth

Topics: Macbeth, Uncertainty principle, Werner Heisenberg Pages: 3 (980 words) Published: May 7, 2013
Adithya Shekhar
Macbeth Paper
Power and Comfort- Incompatible
People often find it tough to achieve things that are usually incompatible with each other. Even Werner Heisenberg, the German scientist who discovered the uncertainty principle, realized that the act of measuring things at the atomic level affected the object being measured. As a result, one can never measure both location and momentum of an electron. The attempt to achieve one of these goals hurts the other and a similar phenomenon is found in everyday lives. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the protagonist is lured into killing King Duncan by his desire for power, an appetite which is fueled by witch’s prophecies and encouraged by his wife. But when he reaches this power, he feels insecure and attempts to get rid of possible threats such as Banquo and his son, who was prophesized to be the future king. Macbeth’s lords eventually revolt successfully after the witches lure Macbeth into a sense of false security with another prophecy. In Macbeth, we see that man’s goals of comfort and power are forever opposed. This can be seen through the recurring motifs of knowledge, power, and comfort.

Similar to the phrase, ignorance is bliss, the power from knowledge causes discomfort. When Macbeth is promised the throne, Banquo questions him for he is not excited at all. “Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear/ Things that do sound so fair?” . Macbeth’s new knowledge makes him uncomfortable because he understands its implications. This is where he fosters the idea of murdering Duncan and is frightened by the thought of his consideration of killing his friend. After he commits the crime, Macbeth says, “To know my deed, ‘twere best not to know myself.” Knowing that he has committed an inhumane act makes him uncomfortable. At the same time, his power had increased, which shows the relationship between the two; as one increases, the other takes a fall. The witch, Hecate, sets Macbeth up for his final...
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