How Macbeth is corrupted by power because of personal desire and outside influence

Essay by hurleysweety March 2004

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Throughout history tyrants have come and gone. They come into position with knowledge and power. When the tyrant holds such power, he also holds a great responsibility. Because of the power, the tyrants ego will become very large causing his thinking to be camouflaged. However, since the mental state of the mind is decreasing, the ability to be responsible lacks greatly. A great philosopher by the name of Lord Acton put this idea into a profound phrase, "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." In this quote, Lord Acton observes that having power may corrupt someone slightly. He then goes on to say that having absolute power, such as a tyrant, will cause absolute corruption in the most likely form of mentality and death. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, the plot happens to follow the exact words of Lord Acton. As Macbeth's power rises, his mind fails.

Personal desire can cause a man to do horrible things.

Once he desires something such as power, he will likely go to any extent to achieve it. In the beginning of Macbeth, three witches predict futures for Banquo and Macbeth. When Macbeth discovers that he shall be thane of Cawdor he believes it to be a temptation. Soon after, when he is officially named thane of Cawdor, Macbeth realizes that the witches might be right. "...Two truths are told/As happy prologues to the swelling act/...This supernatural soliciting/Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill,/ Why hath is given me earnest of success/...If good, why do I yield to that suggestion." At this moment he is thinking about murdering Duncan but decides that he would be unable to do it. As the play moves forward his desire increases. He wants the power. He is not fine with Duncan being king anymore. He knows that in...