The Corrupted King: From Gallant to Greedy
Power is essential to greatness and at the same time, tragedy. It is in human nature that the more power one desires the more corrupt actions one must do to attain it. Throughout the course of history, power has been a concept highly sought. Utilised in a beneficial way, it can lead to extraordinary achievements, correcting wrong doings and changing lives. Unfortunately, the ugly reality is the fact that it is the main cause of corruption in the world and is often taken advantage of. In William Shakespeare’s work entitled Macbeth, the lust for and corruption by power is clearly portrayed specifically through Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth.
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However, Shakespeare also focuses upon a balance between the two lovers; as Macbeth becomes stronger, his wife loses both power over him as well as herself, which led to her own downfall.
Next, Macbeth deals with Macduff, the Thane of Fife who remains loyal to Malcolm the righteous heir to the throne. Upon learning of Macduff’s temporary departure to England, Macbeth uses his absence to his advantage, sending three murderers to be rid of his wife and son – an act that illustrates how corrupt and obsessed with power he has become. Within the scene, he also states:
“From now on, every deed that my mind images,
will be carried out by my hand at once.” (4.1, 161-163).
Macbeth has become a sadistic man in his attempt to hold his position and has been driven mad with his lust for power.
Finally, in his sickly state, Macbeth is fearful of his “friend” Banquo – in fear of being plotted against for the taking over of the throne. In the royal palace at Florres, Macbeth questions himself about Banquo and comes to the assumption that he is plotting to overthrow his sovereignty. In a soliloquy with himself, Macbeth states:
“To be thus is nothing;
But to be safely thus.—Our fears in Banquo
Stick deep; and in his royalty of nature
Reigns that which would be fear’d: ‘tis much he dares;
And, to that dauntless temper of his mind,
He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour
To act in safety…” (3.1, 52-58)