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Finally, an end has been brought to the reign of Macbeth; Macbeth power struggle

kelseyyes 3 / 5  
Dec 6, 2008   #1
Hi, I had to write an essay about a character that struggles with power throughout the play, Macbeth , so here it is thank you in advance for any comments.

Macbeth's Power Struggle
Two men, haggard from a recent battle they won for their country, ride nonchalantly through the rocky terrain of the mountains of Scotland. Out of the two men, there is one, nobler in appearance and higher in rank. This man is Macbeth, thane of Glamis. As the battle weakened soldiers continue on their trek back home, they hear cackling behind a large mound of boulders. With their interests peaked, they stealthily move towards the rocks, not knowing what to expect behind them. Crouching, they observe three witches, none of which have a hint of amiability or beauty. Macbeth arches his eyebrow at his companion, Banquo, and listens to the witches banter. After listening to the insane jabbering of the three hags, Macbeth stands erect and saunters to their hiding place. The pungent stench of burning flesh and boiling blood accosts his nostrils, as he approaches the witches at their brew, making him feel nauseas. His now heavy footfalls disturb the sorcerous women, and they look up to see Macbeth, closely followed by the loyal Banquo. Before speaking, they glance at each other, then look back at Macbeth, each flashing him a gap-toothed grin, "All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Glamis," one croaks earily. "All hail, Macbeth! hail to thee, thane of Cawdor," another cries out. "All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter," the third and final hag moans (1.3.-.). Macbeth, after hearing these potent prophecies, stands ruminating the power that he would wield if he were to become king.

In the play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare many characters are seduced by the thought of gaining power. However, none more so than the lead character, Macbeth. Throughout the entire play, Macbeth's actions are controlled by either his quest to gain more power or the power that his wife, Lady Macbeth, holds over him. As the play begins, Macbeth is already a man of power, as he is the thane of Glamis. Then, almost immediately after hearing the predictions of the three weird sisters he receives more power by being awarded a new title, thane of Cawdor. Although Macbeth is a powerful man, there is a more powerful entity ruling over him.

Lady Macbeth, on the outside, appears to be the ideal subservient wife expected of the eleventh century. However, she proves to wield a great deal of power over her husband. When she learns of the predictions of the hag's, she immediately goes to work on figuring out how to get her husband into the throne of power. "Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be what thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o' the milk of human kindness," Lady Macbeth speaks this to herself after receiving the letter from Macbeth, informing her of his possible gaining of the throne (1.5.-.). When she says this, she fears that her husband is too kind to do what is necessary to become king, which would be to murder the current king. She manipulates her power over him by telling him he would not be a man if he did not commit the act of murdering King Duncan, "When you durst do it, then you were a man; and, to be more than what you were, you would be so much more the man" (1.7.-.). It is, in part, due to Lady Macbeth's influence, that Macbeth becomes obsessed with ascending the throne.

Macbeth becomes fixated on mounting the throne in place of King Duncan. However, just recently, Macbeth has been awarded the title of thane of Cawdor by the king. Although happy with the new title and new power, Macbeth still thirsts for the powers held by the king. When Malcolm receives the title of Prince of Cumberland, the next step to being king, Macbeth is enveloped in a rage and takes for granted his own new title. Eyes green with envy, Macbeth tell himself, "Stars, hid your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires" (1.5.-.). Macbeth knows that he can not allow Duncan to see his ambition for the power of the throne, or Duncan will find a way to hinder him from doing so. After Malcolm is named Prince of Cumberland, Macbeth's hunger for the throne only becomes stronger. Employing her power over her husband, Lady Macbeth convinces him to kill King Duncan in order to obtain the throne Though Macbeth pines for the throne, he understands that he can not rightly justify his actions, "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition" (1.7.-.). Nonetheless, Macbeth goes through with the murder. Soon, Duncan's body is found and his two sons flee the country, leaving Macbeth the successor to the throne. At last, he has acquired the powers of the king. However, to keep his power, Macbeth must fight for it.

"...Where we are there's daggers in men's smiles..." (2.4.-.). When Donalbain says this to his brother, Malcolm, he is referring to the fact that men will smile to another man's face, but then, turn around and kill him if he finds it the least bit convenient. This is what happens to the unsuspecting Banquo. After Macbeth has taken the throne he begins to fear that Banquo might do something to jeopardize his regime. "He hath a wisdom that doth guide his valour to act in safety. There is none but he whose being I do fear: and under him my genius is rebuked, as it is said, mark Antony's was by Caesar" (3.1.-.) In act three, scene one, Macbeth begins to fear Banquo's knowledge of the predictions made by the witches. He knows that Banquo suspects that he has attained the throne by foul play, and Macbeth worries that Banquo may expose him. However, this is not the only reason that Banquo may be a threat to Macbeth's recently acquired power. During the same time that Macbeth was informed of his impending kingship, Banquo was enlightened that he would produce a line of kings. To Macbeth, this means that Banquo's posterity will remove him from the throne. So, in order to keep his new found power, Macbeth hires murderers to kill Banquo and his son, Fleance. In spite of Banquo being killed, Macbeth still loses his power.

By abusing his power over others, Macbeth becomes a hated king. Not only is it due to his cruelty when exercising powers, but also the suspicions of many that he has killed Duncan, that many nobles refuse to fight for him, and his power is thus greatly depleted. An army begins to amass against Macbeth, and he knows that he will soon be defeated for, "...Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him" (4.1.-.). Although he is convinced that his power is about to be wrenched from him, he still holds hope, as he knows no man that was not born of woman. However, as Macduff fights the tyrant he reveals to him that, "...Macduff was from his mother's womb untimely ripp'd" (5.8.-.). Macbeth is now certain that his tyrannical reign is finished, and the two men continue to fight to the death. Macduff returns, wielding the decapitated head of the former king, Macbeth, and exclaims to Malcolm, "Hail, king! For so thou art: behold, where stands the usurper's cursed head..."(5.8.-.). In this way, Macbeth's power was taken from him.

In final consideration, Macbeth was an individual with which power was a very important ideal. He was not only ruled by the power of his wife, but he also quested for the power of the king. His power hunger drove him to murder his best friend, but in the end he only ended up losing everything, including his power. Without Macbeth's thirst for power, the play would not have been able progress as the entire play centers around the rise and fall of Macbeth's power.

In a final attempt to save his life, the battered and bloodied Macbeth tries to reason with Macduff. He tells him of all his ambitions and of how his wife held tremendous sway over his actions. With sweat dripping down his brow, he asks Macduff if he wouldn't have done the same things if he were in the same position. Macduff gives his opponent a disgusted snarl. Macduff looks at the crest fallen king, and finds it hard to suppress a chuckle as the king snivels and cowers in fear. Then, before he can feel a pang of remorse, he lifts his sword, swings, and cleanly cuts of King Macbeth's head. He smiles. Finally, an end has been brought to the reign of Macbeth.
lrnsmith09 5 / 11  
Dec 6, 2008   #2
Do you mind me asking specifically what the prompt was?
OP kelseyyes 3 / 5  
Dec 6, 2008   #3
the prompt was

One of the strongest human drives seems to be a desire for power. Write an essay in which you discuss how a character in Macbeth struggles to free himself or herself fromteh power of others or seeks to gain power over others.
lrnsmith09 5 / 11  
Dec 6, 2008   #4
To start off I would like to say that this is a very detailed, and well done plot summary. The only problem this paper seems to have is that their is very little analysis of the question proposed in the prompt. Try and use the quotes that you think support the point you are trying to prove.

Basically, less summary, more of your own opinions and analysis.
OP kelseyyes 3 / 5  
Dec 6, 2008   #5
Okay, thank-you.
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 7, 2008   #6
You write very well! Here are just a few ideas:

Of the two men, one is nobler in appearance and higher in rank.

In final consideration, Macbeth was a character for whom power was a very important resource.
OP kelseyyes 3 / 5  
Dec 7, 2008   #7
Thank-you! Those are some really helpful suggestions that you made.
shrooms 1 / 3  
Dec 7, 2008   #8
too bad this essay sucks.
jk. jk. jk.
write my essay for me.!!
on lady macbethh.
i dont think there is too much plot summary!!
haha. its good. itll be another 98!
EF_Kevin 8 / 13,321 129  
Dec 8, 2008   #9
YES, the essay is indeed very good. It stays on topic with the "power" theme, and the paragraphs are well-organized.

There is quite a lot of plot summary, and that can be bad when the essay is supposed to argue a thesis instead of giving a plot summary... but in this case the essay does exactly what it is supposed to do: Use the story to show a struggle involving power.

Thanks, everyone, for the excellent peer reviews. You are all great!!

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