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Power In Literature Essay

915 words - 4 pages

Power is a timeless force that has been around since man existed. The greed for power is one of the oldest and most ruthless of all desires. Power changes people; it takes over lives, and destroys them. Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Arthur Miller’s The Crucible are great examples of how power can consume people and completely transform them. Macbeth and The Crucible are set in different timelines, but they have the same message. Power can be used to rule as a malicious tyrant, or gain vengeance over an enemy. No matter the reason for abusing power, one thing is for sure, greed for power changes a person; it brings total chaos, and causes people to rebel against the power.
In Macbeth, the first person to turn to greed to gain power is Lady Macbeth. After Macbeth’s first meeting with the Weird Sisters, Macbeth receives the title of the Thane of Cawdor, which then plants a seed in Lady Macbeth’s head. She instantly begins to plot Duncan’s murder, but in order to follow through with this plan, she has to let go of her “mortal thoughts” (Shakespeare, I, v, 40) and be filled with the “direst cruelty” (Shakespeare, I, v, 42). By wishing to be “unsexed”, Lady Macbeth has accepted the fact that in order to kill Duncan, she has to let go of everything that makes her a woman, such as tenderness and love and as a replacement, she wants to be full of malice. Another character, Macbeth, is a very loyal subject Duncan at first, but following Duncan’s murder, Macbeth’s personality changes. Lady Macbeth suspects that Macbeth “is too full o’ the milk of human kindness” (Shakespeare, I, v, 16). Yet, Macbeth’s desire for power finally takes over his kind conscience; this greed for power appears as a bloody knife pointing to Duncan’s bed. When Macbeth sees the dagger, he states, “Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand? Come let me clutch / thee” (Shakespeare, II, i, 33-34). By attempting to clutch the dagger, Macbeth accepts his life as a killer and finally gives in to his lust for power. In The Crucible, Abigail Williams cares about nothing but her own status and John Proctor. Abigail and John Proctor had an affair when Abigail was still employed by the Proctors and she believes he still loves her, and not his wife, Elizabeth the “cold, sniveling woman” (Miller, 20). Her hate for Elizabeth and greed for John Proctor enrages Abigail, and she stops at nothing to gain John and her power. Since she is one of the few girls that are caught dancing in the woods, Abigail knows that in order to save her reputation, she has to blame innocent women of practicing witchcraft, including Elizabeth Proctor. Her accusations will cause her to...

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