Macbeth – Power

Word Count: 589There are many different types of power which a person
may have. Some of the time, however, the person in that
power is not the best person to be in that power. This is
especially true in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Throughout the course of the play, the Three Witches and
Lady Macbeth are the people with the most power over
Macbeth’s life. The more power that a person has, the more
corrupt they become. Many different people in Macbeth
have power, and there are different ways to be powerful,
Usually, men are the ones who are outward and aggressive
about it, and women are more subdued about it. Lady
Macbeth has a great deal of power over Macbeth the
power which she holds over him, is the fact that she
possesses more of the “manly” quality than Macbeth himself
does. Because of this, Macbeth is ashamed of himself. As a
result of Macbeth’s shame, he attempts to do everything in
his power to prove himself to Lady Macbeth. He is
attempting to prove himself to Lady Macbeth, because she
obviously has her doubts, “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.” (1,7,54-56). As a result
of Lady Macbeth’s doubts and mocking, Macbeth finally
murders Duncan in a final attempt to prove himself to Lady
Macbeth. Although Lady Macbeth was successful at
convincing Macbeth to murder Duncan, the Three Witches
were the people who made it all possible. The Three
Witches hold the ultimate power. If the Three Witches had
indeed not informed Macbeth about what was to be, then be
would not have repeated the Three Witch’s prophecies to
Lady Macbeth, “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 hereafter.” (1,3,50-53).

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In turn, if Lady Macbeth had not been informed about the
prophecies, she would have never expected Macbeth to
murder Duncan in a desperate attempt to fulfill the
prophecies. On the other hand, the Three Witches not only
gave Lady Macbeth the opportunity to alter Macbeth into
the tyrant which he now is the Three Witches also led
Macbeth to his downfall soon after Macbeth came into
power. How the Three Witches accomplished this, was they
made Macbeth feel over-confident, “Be lion- mettled,
proud, and take no care/ Who chafes, who frets, or where
conspirers are:/ Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until/
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill/ Shall come
against him.” (4,1,98-102). In other words, the Three
Witches were able to bring Macbeth into power, but in
contrast to this, they were also able to take him out of it. The
only way that they were able to take him out of it, was by
deceit. While Macbeth was in this power, he had power
over the common people’s lives, even though he used this
power ruthlessly, “Send out moe horses, skirr the country
round:/ Hang those that talk of fear.” (5,3,40-41). He had
power over these common people, even though it was only
for a minuscule amount of time. What Shakespeare suggests
about power, is that the more power a person has, the more
corrupt they become. This is what Shakespeare attempted
to communicate to the readers throughout the entire play.

Macbeth changed from a man with high morales and values,
“We still have judgement here that we but teach/ Bloody
instructions, which being taught return/ To plague the
inventor.” (1,7,8-10), to the merciless and over-confident
murderer which he now is, “I will not be afraid of death and
bane,/ Til Birnam forest come to Dunsinane.” (5,3,68-69).

In conclusion, the Three Witches and Lady Macbeth were
the people with the most power over Macbeth’s life. This is
especially true for the Three Witches. The more power that
Macbeth came into, the more corrupt he became.