Power, Authority And Corruptio Essay

1391 words - 6 pages

Power, Authority and Corruption in Macbeth "Authority poisons everybody who takes authority on himself " [Leninthis, 271], this quotation applies to Shakespeare's Macbeth. In the play, Macbeth commits regicide; the most heinous of all crimes in Elizabethan times, in order to become king himself. However, during his rule, Macbeth demonstrates that he is incapable of mastering the power and qualities of being a king. His drive for power and maintaining his power is the source of his downfall. Macbeth's obsession with power fuels him to his mental deterioration. He is not meant to have authority beyond Thane of Cawdor. When Macbeth is king, he does not use his authority judiciously.Macbeth's eventual demise is by virtue of his obsession for power and retaining his power. Before he desired the power of being king, Macbeth was a respected noble called a "valiant cousin!" and a "worthy gentleman" [Macbeth, I, ii, l: 25, p.13]. He was labeled, "brave Macbeth" [Macbeth, I, ii, l: 18, p.13] for his actions in battle. During a conversation between Duncan and a soldier, the soldier describes how Macbeth brutally slew the rebel Macdonwald: "Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution, Like valour's minion carved out his passage… Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops, And fixed his head upon our battlements" [Macbeth, I, ii, l: 17-23, p.13].In his speech, the soldier describes Macbeth's violence to indicate qualities as a good warrior, thus showing that he has respect for Macbeth. There can be no doubt that Macbeth had entertained the possibility of being King some day, "My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical" [Macbeth, I, iii, l: 149, p.29]. His success in battle would serve to intensify his ambitious hunger for power. Once Macbeth became king, he became overpowered with keeping his authority. Macbeth realized that he was being used just so that Banquo's sons can inherit the throne: "They hailed him father to a line of kings.Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown, And put a barren sceptre in my gripe, Thence to be wrenched with an unlineal hand, No son of mine succeeding" [Macbeth, III, i, l: 64-78, p. 116-117].Macbeth, consumed by these feelings, convinces a pair of men to kill Banquo and his son Fleance. By having Banquo and Fleance murdered, Macbeth believes that it will prevent Banquo's sons from becoming king; basically, an attempt to overthrow fate and the prophesies. Macbeth, as well, hires the murderers to kill Macduff's family. Which demonstrates Macbeth's obsession, indicating that Macbeth values his power and absolute control over his friends.Macbeth's obsession with domination causes him to feel guilty and lose his sanity; as a result he does not show the qualities needed to be a stable King. Macbeth's guilt is indicated in the hallucinations, his insomnia and mental state. His first hallucination occurs just before killing King Duncan. Macbeth sees "A dagger of the mind, / a...

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