Macbeth: The Usage Of Power For Goods And Bads

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The way power is used in situations has the effects to alter the course of events and manipulate people to achieve either a good or bad outcome. If power is abused it can become corrupted and controlling ruining peoples lives, being used for only the holders gain, however, if power is respected it can be used for the good of the people and help make improvements in society. In William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” he shows how power can be used on both sides through many techniques and characters like The three witches, Macbeth and Malcolm. The different types of power the character use and the way they use it alters the course of the characters lives for better or for worse, ultimately showing that power must be respected and used with good intent.

Irresponsible or abusive use of power Can control or manipulate a person to what you wish or can cause a negative imbalance in power resulting in corruption and often some form of dictatorship. Williams Shakespeare uses both the witches and Macbeth to show what can happen when power is used to control. The quotes “All hail Macbeth, Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, King of Scotland” and “Beware, MacDuff, Macbeth cannot be killed by women born” made by the witches from act 1 scene 3 and act 4 scene 1 respectively, shows Shakespeare use of foreshadowing and the witches use of power to control Macbeth. The witches use the power of superstition to alter Macbeth actions and make him power hungry, ultimately leading him to be never satisfied and the dictator people view him as. The witches effectively control Macbeth life and are even responsible for his death as they make him believe he is invincible. The use of foreshadowing builds up tension in the audience as they watch the prophecies come true and see Macbeth slow deterioration. The power Macbeth gains from killing Duncan slowing corrupts him and he starts abusing his people and acting recklessly. “Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword, his wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls, that trace him in his line.” This quote in act 4 scene 1 shows that Macbeth is so unstable and corrupt he is willing to destroy a whole town of innocent people because of Macduff’s betrayal to Macbeth. The fact Macbeth’s thanes slowly leave and betray him shows that he is not a good king and they don’t believe in his actions. These above examples show how a power imbalance can alter the course of someone’s life for the worse and make people perform horrible action like relentless murders.

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While the incorrect use of power can cause detrimental damage, The correct use of power can be used to correct and repair the damage caused by corrupt being and bring stability and balance to the world. Shakespeare uses the character Malcolm as a prime example of this. Malcolm is the true heir to Duncan’s throne and truly represents the power of loyalty as he cares for his followers and country and mourns those lost in battle, unlike Macbeth. He uses his power to undo the mess Macbeth has created and rewarded the people who helped him defeat Macbeth. Malcolm’s speech at the end of act 5 scene 8 supports the above-mentioned statement, “we reckon with your several loves, And make us even with you. My thanes and kinsmen” “What’s more to do, Which would be planted newly with the time, As calling home our exiled friends abroad, That fled the snares of watchful tyranny,”. Shakespeare uses symbolism to show how Scotland will grow and prosper much Malcolm claims the throne and undo Macbeth’s work. The growing of the tree in the witches prophecies and the English soldiers using Birnam wood as cover before the attack symbolise that good and healthy growth is going to come to Scotland. “Let every soldier hew him down a bough, And bear ’t before him.” and “THIRD APPARITION appears, in the form of a child with a crown on his head and a tree in his hand.” Both support Macbeth uses of symbolism. Malcolm overall uses the power of loyalty to gain trusted friends and regain what was rightfully his to retore to balance of power and make all things good again.

Depending on how power is used in certain situations can depend on the outcome and whether or it is used for good or for bad. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth power is used throughout the plot in both positive and negative ways. Both the witches and Macbeth use their powers for evil and their own gain to manipulate and destroy people while characters like Malcolm and Macduff oppose them and use their power for good. No matter what type of power you are dealing with it is important that it is in good hands or innocent lives will be destroyed and lost, and overall I believe that Macbeth does a really good job of conveying this message. 


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