Long Live the King
"With great power, comes great responsibility." Even though this quote is from a popular comic book, it is very applicable to the life of a king. A king has to be a role model, has to be strong, has to be able to make smart decisions and needs to be able to lead a country. Shakespeare's Scottish king in his well-known tragedy Macbeth and the Egyptian pharaoh from Shelley's poem "Ozymandias" both had the difficult task of being a leader. In the time that they ruled, Macbeth and Ozymandias were very powerful kings. Infamous and destructive, the two kings made an impact in their societies. Although Ozymandias and Macbeth were kings during different time periods and ruled in different parts of the world, the two men shared many similar characteristics. Their egotistical mindsets, ruthless and unkind natures and choosing to ignore their consciences led to achieving big things, yet also caused their downfalls. When comparing these men, many things can be learned about the rise and fall of a leader.
Both Ozymandias and Macbeth were egotistical and thought of themselves as being better than others. Macbeth was a nobleman and was respected by many. After doing many positive things for his country on the battlefield, he was praised by King Duncan.
"O worthiest cousin,
The sin of my ingratitude even now
Was heavy on me.
Only I have left to say,
More is thy due than more than all can pay."
(Macbeth. I. iv.17-24.)
His wife and his friends also commended him for his bravery. Macbeth knew of his accomplishments, but after hearing compliments from everyone he knew, Macbeth became overconfident and his ego grew. He started to believe that he was unbeatable because of his faith in the witches' prophecies. For example, he was told that he would not be harmed by anyone "born of woman," causing him to feel invincible because everyone is technically "woman born." However, these prophecies were half-truths...