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Macbeth by Shakespeare

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Samuel 1

“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men” is a famous statement from historian and moralist John Emerich Edward Dahlberg Acton, also known as Lord Acton. Throughout history the argument of power falling hand in hand with corruption has been brought to our attention in disturbing scenes of destruction. But do these scenes conclude that power eventually leads to corruption? In this essay I will discuss that power do eventually lead to corruption with the help and examples from the book “Animal Farm” and the play by Shakespeare “Macbeth.”

Beyond all else, the world yearns for power. In the story “Animal Farm” Old Major, who is a respected animal on the farm, uses his power of respect and trust to persuade the others to pursue the vision of his dream to rebel against the humans. After the death of Old Major; two of his friends, Snowball and Napoleon replaced him and consider it a duty to prepare for the Rebellion. At first things started off pretty well; Snowball taught the animals to read and write and Napoleon educate young puppies on the principles of Animalism (George Owell.) But in time, the leaders of Animal Farm started to have mixed feelings. Snowball and Napoleon were in constant disagreement. An important meeting took place and ended with a shocking outcome (Unknown.) One decision was Snowball plan to build a windmill. But, Napoleon sent his dogs after Snowball, before the results, to chase Snowball away, making Napoleon head animal. Napoleon used all his knowledge and education to take over the farm and have pigs run the farm. With all the pigs and dogs on his side Napoleon had absolute power over everyone. He purged the farm with his dogs killing anyone he thought had consulted with Snowball. Napoleon

Samuel 2

and the pigs soon started to show characteristic of a human to the point where they can no longer distinguish between the two. (George Owell.)

In Macbeth if you read closely, very closely you’ll notice absolute power corrupts absolutely speaks for itself in the first few lines when the witches told Macbeth he would become Thane of Cawdor. When Macbeth becomes Thane of Cawdor he realizes all the power he could have. For example, Macbeth says, “My murderous thought is still only imaginary but it shakes my entire manhood so deeply that my power to act is smothered by expectation, and nothing seems real to be except what I imagine.”(Act 1 scene 3 lines). Although at first Macbeth wants to kill King Duncan, he is scared to. He does it eventually with the persuasion of Lady Macbeth and her silver tongue. Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to kill King Duncan by saying things like “…look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it“(act 1 scene 5 lines) or “Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dash’d his brains out, had I sworn as you have done to this.” (act 1 scene 7) By saying this, she is encouraging him to kill people in order to become king. Macbeth has some fears about killing the king but Lady Macbeth questions his manliness by telling him that if he was a real man, he would kill him. Eventually Macbeth starting on a killing ramp page, killing anyone that came between him and the crown. At the end of the play all the greed and power consume Lady Macbeth to the point of hallucination to where she killed herself, at the time Macbeth could care less stating “….She should have died hereafter.” (act 5 scene 4)



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