Tyranny in Shakespeare's Macbeth
All humanity is tyrannical. Every person wants the world to conform to their wishes. A product of the ego, this desire culminates in tyranny among those that have the arrogance, opportunity, and instability to embrace and foster it. We find Macbeth with the opportunity, and his arrogance and instability are bred by ego and contranatural forces, such that he becomes a tyrant. Duncan's soft handed rule allows Macbeth the opportunity to plot against him while his proclamation of Malcom as the heir to his throne provides motive, a wounded ego. Lady Macbeth and the witches, whether they be contranatural forces or perverted minds, prod him into action, exacerbating his tyrannical leanings, and sway the inner conflict which eventually develops. Macbeth's rise to tyranny and his hold on it are products of his ego, provoked by inner conflict and those around him, and as such are opposed to the natural order which strives for balance.
Tyranny is not something easily obtainable. By it's nature, it cannot be. The rule of one must be a complicated task simply because it requires the subjugation of all others. At first, Macbeth feigns indifference, claiming that "If Chance will have me King, why, Chance may crown me, without my stir,"1 and "I dare do all that may become a man; Who dares do more, is none."2 There is an inner conflict inside Macbeth, a sign of his weak character, which outwardly questions the morality of his actions, but more truthfully questions the probability of success. He is not at all concerned with whether what he is doing is right, he only cares about whether he will succeed. Finally, his strength comes to him, when "Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain'd sleep."3 Nature must first be pushed aside before Macbeth can step forward to claim his place as tyrant, and he must have plenty of help in disposing of it, and only for a time being.
The source of Macbeth's tyrannical uprising being threefold may have greater meaning still, seeing the significance of the number throughout the play, however here I will suffice to examine each third and leave such discussion to the more adventurous authors. The weird sisters foreshadow the deeds of Macbeth, coming before he and Banquo looking otherworldly. They play oracle for Macbeth, and to his ego which is geared toward tyranny and already out of sync with nature. We see that in Professor Tarcov's comment, and we also see it through Macbeth's actions. Even before he meets the witches, he has been thinking of betrayal. His "vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself"4 pushes him to perform the murder as he had promised, despite Duncan's presence "in double trust."5 He cannot break that promise which he had made to his wife. She will not let him back down. Lady Macbeth first summons forth the courage to do what must be done, asking that the "Spirits That tend on mortal...