Power his current title of Thane of Glamis,

Power is a force that
should not be reckoned with and if it is used for evil instead of good, chaos
will be unleashed. Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, focuses on a tragic hero
who desires to become the King of Scotland, and this overwhelming need for
power ultimately consumes him.   In Macbeth,
the characters with power take actions that lead to corruption for themselves
and for those around them. The witches in the play are powerful due to their
ability to prophesize Macbeth’s future and this is used to corrupt him. Lady
Macbeth is another character that becomes sinister, as she desires power, and
she is very influential in the transformation that Macbeth makes throughout the
play.  Lastly, the title character,
Macbeth, desires to become King, and he will do anything at all to make it this
happen. Macbeth is one of the many victims who stumbles across the witches who
use their dangerous powers to change him from an innocent man to a ruthless
killer.

The witches in the play
are one of the most powerful and important figures in the play. The witches
demonstrate their power in their first interaction with Macbeth by providing
him with a picture of his future. These prophecies are responsible for Macbeth turning
to evil and sinister actions to ensure these predictions are realized. When Macbeth
stumbles across the witches they proceed to “hail” Macbeth with his current
title of Thane of Glamis, and the next two positions he is yet to fulfill in
the not so late future. “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!/ All
hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!/ All Hail, Macbeth, that shalt be
king here after”1 Macbeth does not believe the witches initially,
then Ross and a messenger arrive to spread the news to Macbeth that he has gained
his title of Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth then realizes that he can rely on the
witches and he puts his trust in their predictions. This initial interaction
between the witches and Macbeth is the motivation for further tragic events. The
witches are so powerful that they can provide others with the power to see
visions and apparitions. Macbeth was granted this power and during King
Duncan’s murder scene, he envisions a dagger, and he sees this as a symbol of
what he is meant to do and what his future holds. “Thou marshal’st me the way
that I was going, / And such instrument I was to use.”2
When Macbeth tries to cope with the murders of Banquo, and King Duncan, his
first instinct is to go straight to the witches for advice on how to proceed.
Macbeth feels he cannot control anything, and he asks, and begs the witches to
tell him what to expect. “Even till destruction sicken, answer me/To what I ask
you”3 This shows that the witches hold a strong power over Macbeth
by using visions and motivating words to control him. The witches force Macbeth
to perform corrupt actions to ensure the prophecies come true.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

The
desire to become King, leads Macbeth to do anything he can to ensure that he
will wear the crown.  This craving for
power eventually leads to his ultimate demise. Shakespeare demonstrates how
power corrupts by using Macbeth, who performs corrupt actions just with the
thought of having power over others. Macbeth’s actions clearly demonstrate that
the amount of power he obtains depicts how corrupt the acts he commits
are.  As he gains more power, his
corruption becomes clearer and more destructive. “The air/ Nimbly and sweetly
recommends itself/ Unto our gentle senses”4 It was said of the
castle that “heaven’s breath/ Smells wooingly here.”5   These two quotes suggest the positive image
that Macbeth is portraying as the Thane of Cawdor. He does not yet want to be
king and therefore he is not driven to corrupt actions. “If chance will
have me King, why, chance may crown me/ Without my stir.”6 This
attitude is similar to his thoughts at the beginning of the play, which proves
he has changed very little. However, later in the play it is clear that Macbeth
did have “black and deep desires.”7 Macbeth’s views
eventually change and he desires desperately to be King. When Malcolm becomes
Prince of Cumberland, Macbeth considers this “a step on which I must fall
down or else o’erleap/ for in my way it lies.” 8 Macbeth begins
his demise into evil actions with just corrupt thoughts but eventually tragic
events ensue.  Eventually, with the
persuasion of Lady Macbeth, Macbeth decides to murder the King. He struggles
with his conscience after this murder but eventually when Macbeth attains his
sought after title of King, his personality continues to change.  He no longer hesitates or requires Lady
Macbeth’s persuasions and instead becomes very bold and incredibly
manipulative.  He plans the murder of
Banquo in a very skillful and confident manner. He tells the
murderers: “I will advise you where to plant yourselves; Acquaint
you with the perfect spy o’ the time, The moment on’t; for ‘t must be done
to-night.” 9 He questions the murder of Duncan but without any
hesitation he puts Lady Macduff and her children to death. The increase in
power leads to a string of horrific, corrupt events.  Lady Macbeth
is instrumental in Macbeth’s transformation from a heroic warrior to a cunning
killer.

Lady Macbeth is corrupt
from the very beginning of the play and she becomes thirsty for additional
power and control. The corruption for power is evident in the beginning when Macbeth
sends her a letter, recounting the event of his interaction with the witches
and how he trusts in their prophecies. 
Lady Macbeth becomes motivated herself, and makes an effort to manipulate
and control Macbeth to ensure their fate is sealed. She makes it obvious that
she is willing to do anything at all, so that she will have the most power in
the land of Scotland. “Come, you spirits/that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me
here,/ And fill me from the crown to the toe top full/ of dirtiest cruelty.
Make thick my blood.”10 Lady Macbeth loses her femininity and
becomes the force and power behind the murder of King Duncan and she leads
Macbeth to follow the same path. Lady Macbeth is persistent, and will do
anything it takes to get her husband to change his innocent ways, so they can
achieve the ultimate power. “Your face, my Thane, is as a book where men/ May
read strange matters. To beguile the time/ Look like the time; bear welcome
your eyes/ Your hand, your tongue; look like th’ innocent flower,/  But be the serpent under’t.”11 The
corruption eventually begins to poison Lady Macbeth’s mind, and she starts to
listen to her conscience and eventually guilt consumes her.  “Here’s the smell of the blood still. All/ the
perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand./ oh,oh,oh!”12 Lady
Macbeth realizes that her previous passion for power has transformed into
unimaginable guilt and this ultimately leads to her suicide. These events are
vivid examples of how using power for evil will produce a path of destruction
in its wake.

In conclusion, the quest
for power is the driving force in the corruption of the characters and their
specific actions in the play Macbeth. As the play progresses, it becomes
clear that characters are willing to do almost anything to achieve the ultimate
power and control. The path Macbeth follows, proves that one cannot guarantee
their fate and future, and that corruption will only lead to guilt and
self-destruction. The witches and Lady Macbeth are the ones that control
Macbeth’s actions and ultimately are responsibility for his transformation into
a corrupt killer. Power and corruption is very evident in today’s society. It
can be seen in politics, religions, and in the various relationships between regular
people. Many people are addicted and consumed by the benefits of power and some
are willing to do anything to be on top with more money, control and success.
Shakespeare uses Macbeth to prove that such a path that can lead to self-destruction
instead of success, and most likely the future will not be what one has hoped
and worked toward. 

Comments are closed.