How does Shakespeare convey the corrosive nature of power in Macbeth?
Macbeth, written in the early 1600's by William Shakespeare, depicts the destructive nature of power through a variety of personalities in his archetypal characters. These characters portray the negative impact power has on the mind, making it seem like power in itself is a corrupt idea. Each character, such as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, depicts power blended with the flaw in their personalities which creates a wide array of channels through which Shakespeare conveys the corrosive nature of power.
Macbeth, the central character of this play, lets ambition, greed and power subdue his mind, making it impossible for him to emerge from the confines of his thoughts. The opinions of Macbeth and Banquo are juxtaposed after having met the three witches and their first prophecy coming true. Banquo is shown to be one that would let fate unfold as it is, but Macbeth is portrayed with a conflicted mind, where his greed eventually takes over. When Macbeth says “ This supernatural soliciting / Cannot be ill, cannot be good.” the juxtaposition used shows the first hint of his inconsistent mind. At that point in time, he resolves to let events unfold, but as time goes on, he is pressed by his wife to let the greed overcome his mind. He follows his ambition, killing the king, but his first killing took away a part of his humanity. This is further emphasised in “ I had most need of blessing and ‘Amen’ / Stuck in my throat.” The despondent tone of voice shows how disappointed he is to not be able to say ‘Amen’ and he may consider himself damned.
Macbeth’s conscience amplifies his fear when he thinks he hears “‘Sleep no more: Macbeth does murder sleep’... ‘Glamis hath murdered sleep’.” Macbeth seems to lose his innocence while murdering and the guilt does not come back to plague him until his feast as the King of Scotland. He reaches his goal – being the King – but at a great cost. He pays attention to...
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