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Explore the Ways That Macbeth’s Desire for Power Are Presented in Macbeth

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In the play Macbeth by Shakespeare I found at the beginning the character Macbeth was a portrayed as a noble, honest and brave man. As said by the captain in the second scene, ‘For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that title’ (I.2.16). This gives the audience an indication that Macbeth was highly respected by the king’s men and the king himself. His desire for power grew throughout the play from when he had his first encounter with the witches. Macbeth first met the witches whilst on his journey back from battle. The witches gain Macbeth’s attention by hailing him the thane of Glamis, which in the play was his current title. They then hail him the thane of Cawdor, which unbeknown to him would soon be his next title for his recent achievements. Finally the witches hail Macbeth the King hereafter and he is enraptured. Later in the play when Macbeth is greeted by Angus to receive the news that he is to become the thane of Cawdor, this is when Macbeth is convinced that the witch’s prophecy is true by stating to Banquo:

‘Do you not hope your children shall be kings, when those that gave the thane of Cawdor to me promised no less to them?’ (I.3.116-118) Macbeth is stunned with the recent turn of events and he can not help but focus on the other, greater prediction that he will be King. In scene four Macbeth and Banquo arrive at Forres, the palace, where he is greeted by King Duncan and his eldest son Malcolm. King Duncan announces that he has chosen his son Malcolm to be the Prince of Cumberland. Therefore, the hair to the throne. Macbeth is seething about the king’s decision, as he thought he would become king. His emotion is portrayed to the audience whist during the soliloquy, he says: ‘For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires:’ Shakespeare uses a rhyming couplet in the quote to make a poignant point that leaves a lasting impression with the audience of how angry Macbeth feels inside. He does not want to show his inner thoughts so he makes an early exit. Macbeth informs his wife Lady Macbeth of the previous events through a letter. She is ecstatic when realising one of the predictions from the witches has already come true.

She sets her mind on obtaining the throne for her husband by any means necessary. Lady Macbeth also has a strong desire for power but can only gain this through her husband. She becomes the driving force behind the wicked deed of murdering the King. She summons upon evil spirits to make sure nothing will stand in the way of her plan: ‘Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thought, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood:’ (I.5.39-42) When Macbeth is greeted by his wife she wants to tempt him into going ahead with her plans. He does not want to commit regicide against the king so disregards her ideas, but Macbeth’s ambitions and desires get the better of him and he eventually agrees. Macbeth kills the King which leads to him gaining the golden round; he starts to believe he is invisible and succumbs to evil through his fatal flaw, greed. Lady Macbeth on the other hand becomes so consumed with guilt over the death of King Duncan that she commits suicide. When Macbeth murders and deceives, he loses his sanity. Evil corrupts everything it touches, and Macbeth decides to be evil’s servant. Macbeth’s actions destroy his victim’s lives and because of this, it is evident that someone would want revenge by murdering Macbeth. Thus, it is Macbeth’s desire for power that becomes the death of him.

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