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.
Firstly, the play commences with King Duncan and Macduff socializing about ‘the good and hardy soldier’ Macbeth, who at that point in time is brave and gallant warrior who exhibits loyalty and devotion towards his King. Macbeth and Banquo cross paths with the witches who proceed to prophesize Macbeth’s future, labelling him as the future King of Scotland. This immediately grabs Macbeth’s attention and is the driving force behind the alteration of his mind and wellbeing and he ponders what needs to be done to fulfill such a prophecy to become of a high power.
Secondly, it is clear that Macbeth deals with the concept of power within his personal relationship with his wife. Lady Macbeth can be viewed as a sinister figure in the sense that she subdues her feminine qualities to express her dark emotions. The more infatuated Macbeth is with his wife, the stronger her power is
“Come, you spirits;
That tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here,
And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full
Of direst cruelty. . .” (1.5, 40-43)
Her power is exercised through the manipulation of Macbeth – she formulates the plan for her husband to murder Duncan as a result of her greedy desire to become a royal figure. However, Shakespeare also focuses upon a balance between the two lovers; as...