We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Macbeth’s Power in Macbeth Essay Sample

The whole doc is available only for registered users OPEN DOC
  • Pages:
  • Word count: 871
  • Category: macbeth

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

Macbeth’s Power in Macbeth Essay Sample

Power is represented through a number of characters in this play. One of which would clearly be Macbeth himself. With relevance to the character Macbeth, power could be seen as his hamartia (meaning fatal flaw) or more likely, the lust and in his own words, the “vaulting ambition” for it. For the period of time in which he held utmost power over the people of Scotland, before his death, Shakespeare makes it very clear that Macbeth did not enjoy a single bit of his power.

“To be this is nothing,
But to be safely thus” Act III Scene I

Back in the Elizabethan era, regicide was seen not only seen to be treason but also a sin against God, for the King was said to be ‘God’s anointed’. Macbeth would have clearly understood this fact, and though he had attempted to back out of the plan before, the persuasion of his wife in addition to his burning desire for power led him to knowingly defy God, which would have been a big issue at that time, and to carry through his plan of assassination, knowing that if he were to die, he would be headed straight to hell. Shakespeare very successfully portrays power to be such an important and significant element to hold, through the characterisation of Macbeth and at the same time reveals just how destructive and catastrophic its effects can be, if it is not made use of properly. Macbeth had used his power for wrongdoing and comes to realise his shame and remorse very quickly.

“ What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes. Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red.”

As the audience of this play, we are shown the gradual psychological deterioration of Macbeth, as his quest for power leads him to making evil choices, such as committing regicide and a whole reign of murderous terror in order to stay in power and protect himself from enmity. He is convinced that ‘fair is foul, and foul is fair’, just as he was first convinced by the witches’ groundless prophecies, and would do just about anything in his capabilities to gain the power that he desired. This includes a bloodbath which swiftly takes Macbeth into the realms of madness and arrogance, causing him to lose every that had given him meaning and purpose in life, before losing his life itself. When he received news of lady Macbeth’s death, he reacted in a way in which took the audience by surprise. He was a man who shared an intimate and close understanding with his wife and was heavily influenced by her, and upon hearing about her death, he simply said

“She should have died hereafter
There would have been a time for such a word”

This was because Macbeth was overwhelmed by power and the evils of it, that he had been demoted to nothing more than a ruthless murderer who had no more feelings or emotion. Murder destroys the murderers where it matters and that is inside themselves. Power had become somewhat of a drug that Macbeth was addicted to and it drove him numb on the inside.

There are a few techniques used in this play that help to develop and represent the theme of power. Soliloquies play a huge role in in plays as they provide us with insight into the character’s emotions and concepts of their situation. In Macbeth, the famous dagger soliloquy in act II scene I (which by the way will not be recited for timing issues) demonstrates Macbeth being consumed by the thought of gaining power and having that struggle within himself to choose between what he knows is right but will leave him only with as much power as he already did, or to do what is drastically wrong, but gaining power through those means.

Foil is also used, contrasting Banquo to Macbeth, particularly highlighting the differences in the way in which they handle their ambition for power. Although Banquo is put in the same situation as Macbeth where he was predicted to have a great future and will be father to a line of kings, he was more honorable and righteous, compared to Macbeth, who unlike Banquo, continued to hurt those he thought stood in the way of him and the throne.

Power as we know it, could be used for both the good and the evil but Macbeth is a play that shows through its various characters and successfully written plot, that being greedy for power or holding too much power can be foul not only for the morality of oneself but could also affect others, in this case, the whole of Scotland. Shakespeare had yet again meticulously written another successful play that can be related to even in this day and age. In the words of Lord Acton, “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Macbeth had gone from being an honorable and noble war hero to a ruthless murderer, all because of his quest for what was made to seem important – power.

We can write a custom essay

According to Your Specific Requirements

Order an essay

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

"Macbeth" - Act 1 Scene 7, and...

Analyse the dramatic qualities of Act 1 Scene 7, and Act 2 Scene 1 and 2, and consider their importance to the play as a whole. Show how these may be influenced by the social and historical context, or different cultural contexts. Shakespeare uses a soliloquy in Act 1 Scene 7 to show the audience how Macbeth is feeling at this point in the play....

"Macbeth" - Do You Think He Was...

When Shakespeare wrote the play "Macbeth" kings and queens were real rulers. Kings were looked upon as the descendents from God on earth. Shakespeare's tragedy "Macbeth" is one of his most popular tradegies like "King Lear", "Othello" and "Anthony and Cleopatra." Shakespeare's plays were always performed in The Globel Theatre in London. He wrote some of his plays based on true stories made up. In...

The Staging of "Macbeth" Act 3 Scene...

Macbeth, having become king, after killing Duncan, has now become obsessed with getting rid of anything that threatens his new position, by murdering them. He is in the banquet hall when the murderer, who he hired to kill Fleance and Banquo, comes and tells him that Fleance has escaped. Throughout this scene he is haunted and tormented by Banquo's ghost, which only he can see...

From Macbeth's "Partner in Greatness" to "His...

Lady Macbeth is a very controversial figure. She is seen by some as a strong willed women who is ambitious for herself and who is perceptive enough to identify her husband's strengths and weaknesses, and ruthless enough to exploit them. They see her in her commitment to evil and in her awareness that the attainment of the Crown has not brought her the happiness she...

Malcolm Refers to Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

Macbeth is a play written by William Shakespeare about a soldier being loyal to King Duncan who then becomes a murderer. On the other hand his wife, Lady Macbeth is a character that calls upon evil spirits to take away her femininity so she can help her husband slay King Duncan in order to become queen. One view is that Macbeth was a 'dead butcher...

Get Access To The Full Essay
Materials Daily
100,000+ Subjects
2000+ Topics
Free Plagiarism
All Materials
are Cataloged Well

Sorry, but copying text is forbidden on this website. If you need this or any other sample, we can send it to you via email.

By clicking "SEND", you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy. We'll occasionally send you account related and promo emails.
Sorry, but only registered users have full access

How about getting this access

Become a member

Your Answer Is Very Helpful For Us
Thank You A Lot!


Emma Taylor


Hi there!
Would you like to get such a paper?
How about getting a customized one?

Can't find What you were Looking for?

Get access to our huge, continuously updated knowledge base

The next update will be in:
14 : 59 : 59
Become a Member