Timeless Theme Present In "The Crucible" And In "Macbeth: The Abuse Of Power

1712 words - 7 pages

One timeless theme found in many pieces of literature is the abuse of power. Many people who are in power, abuse their power, and commonly become corrupt or unjust due to the power. The essence of human nature is to crave power. Along with this craving of power in some humans is the corruptness and injustice when one comes into power or on one's path to achieving power. This is a timeless theme, as power and human nature have always existed in man's history. This theme may be observed in Macbeth, a play written by William Shakespeare in the early quarter of the 17th century and set in the 11th century. This can also be observed in The Crucible, written by Arthur Miller in the 20th century, and taking place in the 17th century.In the beginning, Macbeth is a virtuous man, or at least interpreted as one by those who know him. He has been thinking of power, but has not yet made any decision upon it, and it is really just a thought, a dream even, in the back of his head, which he seems to have no real intention of pursuing. One may see how Macbeth is virtuous when an injured Captain is coming back from the front, and tells Duncan and Malcolm about the battle:"And Fortune, on his damnèd quarrel smiling, / Showed like a rebel's whore: but all 's to weak; / For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name), / Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel, / Which smoke with bloody execution, / Like Valour's minion, carved out his passage, / Till he face the slave; Which ne'er shook hands, nor bade farewell to him, / Till he unseamed him from the nave to the chaps, / And fixed his head upon our battlements." (Act One, Scene II, l.14-24 Shakespeare)In this story told by the captain, Macbeth is a virtuous man. The Captain qualifies Macbeth as brave and even comments on how Macbeth "deserves that name". This may be considered Macbeth initial and noble stage, before power corrupted him, to the point of committing numerous atrocities for the sake of power. Macbeth however is soon corrupted by the thought of achieving supreme power over Scotland, brought forth by the witches telling him that the crown would be his.The corruptness may be seen in Macbeth mostly seen in Macbeth's path to power. The thought of obtaining power has pushed Macbeth to contemplating murder much more than before, and he stacks up the reasons of why he should not kill Duncan against the reason to kill Duncan. One can see this in a monologue early in the book:"[...] First , as I am his kinsman and his subject, / Strong both against this deed; then as his host, / Who should against his murder shut the door, / Not bear the knife myself. [...] hath been / So clear in his great office, that his virtues / Will plead like angels, trumpet tongued, against / The deep damnation of this taking-off; / [...] To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself / And falls on the other -" (Act One, Scene VII, l.1-28 Shakespeare)In this passage, one may understand...

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