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The Theme of Power in Macbeth

By stevenrawn Feb 02, 2009 5452 Words
table of Contents Introduction………………………………………………………………………………………………………3 The Tool of Power……………………………………………………………………………………………….4 Power as a Means………………………………………………………………………………………………..6 Corruption and End……………………………………………………………………………………………..9 Connexions to Other Plays and Themes……………………………………………………………………11 What Could Have Been………………………………………………………………………………………….13 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………………………………………………14 Resources………………………………………………………………………………………………………….15 Introduction Power is strange. Power is a display of strength, and of weakness. Power is a display of hardiness, and of delicacy. Power is a display of purity, and of corruption. Power is a powerful tool to wield in hard times as well. As shown in the text of Macbeth written by William Shakespeare, the lust for power is dangerous. Shakespeare has shown indeed, as said by George Orwell in his novel 1984, that “the object of power, is power.” In a series of events organized in acts and scenes, Shakespeare explains a problem in his society and in the current global society. He shows that, as brilliantly explained by Lord John Acton in one of his letters: “All power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (p.xi) The theme of power in Macbeth is most certainly the central theme of the entire plot, and all the other themes revolve around it, such as supernaturalism. The Weird Sisters tell Macbeth of his invincibility from their summons of apparitions, as in Act 4, Scene 1, lines 95-97, “Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.” This gives Macbeth even more power, in the psychological and physical sense. The purpose of this essay is to try to understand the theme of power in Macbeth. Although the theme of power is a very broad theme when discussed in general this essay contains the methods and the tools to help understand this broad theme and to make the theme itself be understood generally so that when encountered in any other story or play or text, the theme could be understood in context of the text that is being read. The sections have been divided so that each of the methods used are easy to grasp and helps explain the theme of power in Macbeth. The methods are supported by quotes from text and by simple trial and error. Since Shakespeare’s Macbeth is one of his shorter texts, more analysis had to be done in order to fully understand a broad theme from a very small text. Another point to be

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