Power and Corruption in Macbeth
"Authority poisons everybody who takes authority upon himself" (Vladimir Ilyich Lenin). This could easily be a comment on the story of Macbeth where an apparently respected Scottish couple have the opportunity to seize the highest authority, take it, and in doing so, poison themselves and their country. In Macbeth, the play's theme is the strife created by the wrongful seizure of power and the corruption of morals of those who acquire power by evil means. Power can be good or bad depending on the hands that it falls into. The dilemma with power that has been accomplished by immoral behavior, foul means, is that when you finally manage to attain it, it will always bring insecurity, bring the thoughts that your power will be taken from you, that your crime will be discovered. Corrupt power corrupts, power that's gained by immoral behavior, and having a desire for power solely for it's own sake is corrupt in itself. Lady Macbeth had this desire and, later, so did Macbeth. Shakespeare saw kingship like a mirror of God's rule on earth. Just rule brought happiness to the country and it reflected in harmony amongst nature. Bad kingship had the opposite affect. The play Macbeth is not only about the downfall of one man but the entirety of man and nature.
The relationship between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth is somewhat bizarre. It develops throughout the play, as Macbeth commences to attain power Lady Macbeth's hold over him began to weaken. In the opening scenes, prior to the murdering of King Duncan, Lady Macbeth's character is shown to be dominant and authoritative, thriving on the power that she held over Macbeth. She encouraged the murder of King Duncan. The evil demon of greed and power began to devour her first. It is dubious as to whether, without the urges from his wife, the murder of King Duncan would have gone any further for Macbeth than that of contemplation and desire. The manner in which he became Thane of Cawdor immediately following the 'weird sister's' predictions strikes him solely as a coincidence, but initiates his musings as to how it would feel to be King. Upon his return Lady Macbeth endeavors to show Macbeth the manner in which his dreams that he dismissed as impossibilities, could become realities. Lady Macbeth attempted to convince him of the righteousness of the act, luring him with images of being king. He answered, still clutching at his original morals:
"I dare do all that would become a man, who dares more is none"
Although some might say that it was solely Lady Macbeth who wrought the changes in Macbeth, I believe that when you look at the opening scenes in the play where Shakespeare first introduced Macbeth's character he expertly depicted Macbeth as somewhat of a violent character, a person who enjoyed the killings that he did on the battlefield.
"Disdaining fortune with his brandished steel, which smoked...