Power Corrupts, and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

Topics: William Shakespeare, Morality, Human, Ethics, Meaning of life, Murder / Pages: 5 (1109 words) / Published: Jul 23rd, 2012
Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely
There are many examples, throughout history, of leaders who have been corrupted with power. For example, people like Hitler and Napoleon have all committed shameful actions in the hopes of gaining absolute power. Authority, or simply the desire of control, can cause people to act in incomprehensible ways. Throughout the play Macbeth, written by playwright Shakespeare, the desire for absolute power is the main driving force for the two main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. They are consumed with a great craving for ultimate rule, and are willing to achieve it by whatever means necessary. Power had corrupted the thoughts, actions and behaviors of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and as a result of their greed, selfishness and strong desire for supremacy, they were unable to escape the tragic fate at the end of the play that was a result of their own doing.
The first sign of corruption within Lady Macbeth was observed when her husband had communicated to her the prophecy made by the three witches about his rise to the throne. Her reaction to this prophecy was an immediate and growing desire for power. She right away wished this prophecy to come true. Her longing for command and wishes to be a queen drove her thoughts and feelings to be very corrupt and cruel. An example of her corrupt thoughts as a result of the desire for power is evident upon her reaction to her husband’s letter. She fears that her husband’s nature is too pure and that he doesn’t have enough ambition to commit the crimes necessary to fulfill the prophecy. She says:“Art not without ambition, but without/
The illness should attend it: what thou wouldst highly, / That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false (1.V).” This quote shows that Lady Macbeth is willing to “play false” or act in corrupt ways to attain the power she wants. Furthermore, her strong desires and corrupt thoughts are evident in the quote when she says:“Come, you spirits/

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