Indeed power, justice, and greed are influencing factors that can alter the course of one’s life. These themes have been represented in the following texts, William Shakespeare Macbeth (play on stage) and William Golding’s lord of the flies (novel). The techniques employed are, symbolism, characterisation, language features, and violence/drama. Both authors employ a number of techniques to make both texts come to life vividly and more realistic and make the audience to consider they are a part of the texts.
The theme power is expressed in both texts distinctly. Power is the possession of control or command over others, authority, and ascendary. “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely, great men are almost bad men”. Power is represented in lord of the flies through the conch shell. The conch shell becomes a powerful and effective symbol of civilisation, order, organization, and adjustment. The shell adequately governs the boys meetings, for the boy who holds the conch shell has the right to speak. In this regard the shell is more than a symbol it is an actual vessel of political compensation and democratic power. As the island civilisation erodes and the boys ascend into savagery, the conch shell loses its power and influence among them. The technique of symbolism is used to represent power in lord of the flies.
Power is established when the boys attempt to use structure and classification of society on the deserted island; they elect a leader, establish a division of labour and set about systematically exploring the island. Power is also established though piggy’s glasses, which represent the power of methodical study, and intellectual endeavour in society. This is demonstrated at the start of the novel when the boys use the lenses of piggy’s gasses to focus the sunlight and start a fire.
Comparable to lord of the flies, power is represented through Macbeth. Macbeth is courageous brave and gallant general who is not naturally inclined or devoted to commit evil accomplishments or deeds. However deeply desires power, advancement, and competency. The technique of characterisation is used to represent power in Macbeth.
Power is illustrated when the third witch quotes “All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none, so all hail, Macbeth”.
This example outlines how Macbeth is innocently walking along when all of sudden the witches show up to tempt him by talking about the awesome power that's going to be his.
Power is exposed when Macbeth quotes” LORDS the son of Duncan, from whom this tyrant holds the due of birth”.
This example outlines Macbeth saying can’t a king get a break? Macbeth has just been crowned, and people are already calling him a tyrant. Sheesh. It's almost like he's taken power unlawfully, or something.
The explanation of power in both texts allows the audience that human beings are savage by nature, and are moved by primal urges toward selfishness, brutality, and dominance over others. Power is something that if placed in the wrong hands, can spoil a lot. The greed for power can make people do outrageous things, and once the power gets into the wrong hands, it will be abused, and can disrupt the sort order that power is supposed to hold within the society.
The theme justice is expressed in both texts explicitly. Justice is the moral principle determining just and moral conduct. “Justice is a virtue”. Justice is represented in lord of the flies through the environment. William Golding tries to put nature into the foreground. The author uses extensive description of the nature that surrounds the boys. This depiction adopts a neutral position in the novel. Nature does not care about the boys or their actions, but the boys are dependent on it. Golding criticizes that man rips nature without thinking about the consequences. The island degrades as the story goes on, reflecting on the breakdown of the boys relationships. The island becomes a burnt wasteland as if a punishment for all the violence committed by the boys. The technique of language features is used to represent justice in lord of the flies.
The island is described with ‘scull-like coco-nuts’ and ‘witch-like’. As skulls usually represent the idea of death or witch like evil, Golding could be implying the island has hidden dangers to it.
Justice is presented when Ralph suggests that the group should build a signal fire on top of the islands central mountain, they manage to get a large fire going, but it quickly dies down.
This example outlines that when the group of boys are becoming violent and savage animals that even nature turns its back on them as the signal fire dies down.
Parallel to lord of the flies Macbeth represents justice through Macduff. Macduff is a noble Scottish man who disproves of Macbeths kingship from the beginning, he distrusts Macbeth. The technique of violence/drama is used to represent justice in Macbeth.
Justice is conclusively approved when Macduff slays Macbeth because he gets justice for what Macbeth did to his family by killing the man who made him lose his whole family which he cared for so much.
Furthermore justice is established when Macbeth quotes:
“Return/ to plague Th inventor”
This quote outlines that Macbeth is considering the reasons why he ought not to kill Duncan: Macbeth is Duncan’s kinsman, subject and host.
The explanation of justice in both texts allows the audience to see that justice is the moral principle determining just conduct. The authors have included this theme as it gives more meaning and feeling to the texts. Justice gives society a voice. Justice is an important factor of controlling power and prevents the people who hold power from abusing it and using it for their own gain rather than for the people.
The theme Greed is expressed in both texts lord of the flies and Macbeth strongly. Greed is the excessive desire, especially for wealth or possessions.
Greed is represented in lord of the flies through jack. Jack is the antagonist, Jack desires power above all other things, he is furious when he loses the election to Ralph and continuously pushes his boundaries of his role in the group. Jack is eager to become known or have the title as leader of the group. Jack uses power for personal gain. Jack believes that the rules that govern what is right and wrong does not apply to him. Jack engages in wrong behaviours simply because he can get away with it, he focuses on his own egocentric desires and is not able to see other people’s perspectives. Jack is power hungry and prone to use his power to subjugate others. The technique of characterisation is used to represent greed in lord of the flies.
Greed is demonstrated when the author quotes in the beginning of the book "The circle of boys broke into applause. Even the choir applauded; and the freckles on Jack’s face disappeared under a blush of mortification."
This quote outlines that jack is mortified to loosing the election.
Also greed is conveyed when the author made declaration that His mind was crowded with memories; memories of the knowledge that had come to them when they closed in on the struggling pig, knowledge that they had outwitted a living thing, imposed their will upon it, taken away its life like a long satisfying drink.
This example outlines jack’s mental state in the aftermath of killing his first pig, he is unable to think about anything else because his mind is “crowded with memories” of the hunt, jack’s obsession with hunting is due to the satisfaction it provides his instincts and has nothing to do with contributing to the common good.
In addition greed is represented in Macbeth through Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth accompanies and preserves her goals with greater determination, yet she is less capable of embracing her immoral acts. She manipulates and advocates her husband without remorse to kill Duncan, thane of Cawdor and seize the crown. Lady Macbeth urges Macbeth to be strong throughout the murderous outcome, but is ultimately driven to distraction of Macbeths repeated bloodshed on her moral sense. Lady Macbeth falls victim to guilt and madness, her conscience affects her to such an extent she commits suicide. Their love for each other grows as they are partners in crime. The technique of language features is used to represent greed in Macbeth.
Greed is approved when Lady Macbeth quotes in, Act 1, scene 5:
“The raven himself is hoarse, that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan, under my battlements. Come, you spirits, That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe topful ,Of direst cruelty”
This example outlines that Lady Macbeth is calling upon scheming spirits to "unsex her here." This is her vivid way of asking to be stripped of feminine weakness and invested with masculine resolve. She imagines herself as a vessel which may be emptied out and refilled "from the crown to the toe”.
Likewise Greed is assured when Lady Macbeth quotes in act 1 scene 7
"Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear and chastise thee with the valour of my tongue".
This example outlines how Macbeth is having second thoughts about killing Duncan, but Lady Macbeth refuses to allow him to pass up the opportunity to be king.
The explanation of greed in both texts allows the audience to acknowledge that greed is an unsavoury trait for the human condition as it undermines society, eventually destroying it. Society, in this case, is all life, human or otherwise. When you are greedy, i.e. taking more than you need or hoarding your supplies, you prohibit your brothers from having what they need. If your brother is unable to satisfy his physical and mental needs, he suffers.
In conclusion power, justice, and greed are influencing factors that can alter the course of one’s life. Humans are naturally inclined to behave inadequately in the absence of law, order, and justice. William Shakespeare and William Golding’s experiences throughout life have a profound effect of humanity and the evil instincts that is in all human beings. Both authors point out that evil often leads to even more evil, which nonetheless doesn’t always win out in the end.