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Shakespeares Macbeth - Essay Example

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As is often the case, a marriage partner can be unduly influenced by one's mate, whether it be the husband or wife. The relationship frequently revolves around economic and/or social status, thereby ignoring the romantic ideal of a relationship based on love and happiness…
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Shakespeares Macbeth
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As is often the case, a marriage partner can be unduly influenced by one's mate, whether it be the husband or wife. The relationship frequently revolves around economic and/or social status, thereby ignoring the romantic ideal of a relationship based on love and happiness. Shakespeare's Macbeth suggests that ambition for social or economic power often functions as a catalyst for change. This ambition corrupts one's internal integrity by pushing one to perform extreme deeds in order to acquire the desire power. These elements first appear through the course of the play's Act I, Scene IV.
The necessity of keeping social and economic order often restrains stronger ambition for power. Macbeth is destined - through the prophecy of the witches - to become Thane of Cawdor and eventually King. However, Macbeth's conscience makes the distinction that, by achieving this, he will have broken the social order. This dilemma will eventually compel him to extreme deeds in the acquisition of his desire. Lady Macbeth recognizes her husband's elevation in position and prestige and has no doubt that he will fulfill the witches prophecy with a little help from herself. As she says after reading her husband's letter, " yet do I fear thy nature; / It is too full o' the milk of human kindness / To catch the nearest way" (1.5.360-362). Lady Macbeth has launched into an analysis of Macbeth's character - how he might restrain his ambition out of loyalty to his King rather than seek the most direct route to the throne. Macbeth lacks the internal strength and deviousness a powerful man must have in order to rise to king. His desire is infinite, his ambition excessive, yet his respect for social structure prevents him from committing to the murder of the king. In accusing him of being "too full o' the milk of human kindness," Lady Macbeth is observing a timidity that un-weaned from the hand that raised him - he is not man enough to act aggressively. Macbeth desires the prophecy to occur naturally. He is a man loyal to his society: if his destiny is to become king, then it will happen in due course. Macbeth's lust for power is obvious, yet his hesitation indicates that his respect for society and order comes first. Macbeth, as loyal man to the kingdom, will respect the chain of command. On the other hand, Lady Macbeth will manipulate Macbeth's ambition until it overcomes his respect for the social structure. Despite the social structure's initial import, Lady Macbeth's influence illustrates how the desire for power can eventually consume a person's integrity entirely.
The search for power corrupts one to the point where any deed can be rationalized in obtaining it. Lady Macbeth does not respect the social order: her thirst for power far exceeds the importance of social precedence or stability. Upon choosing her course of action, she cries, almost in prayer, " unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood" (1.5.391-393). Lady Macbeth wishes to abandon a woman's frailties and don a man's strength of purpose, as she thinks that a woman's emotions will falter in the face of perform the evil deed. Lady Macbeth cries to whatever spirits might be listening, either to supernatural beings or in an attempt to fortify her own spirit. Lady Macbeth's purpose is clear. She will plot the means with which to remove the king, thereby setting up her husband for advancement, which will subsequently raise her fortune and status as well. Lady Macbeths's own skill at intrigue and manipulation is revealed when she plots her persuasion of Macbeth to the necessity of Duncan's murder. Lady Macbeth definitely possesses the internal strength of ambition that her husband lacks, but this ambition blinds her. Power dynamics often change the relationship of a couple: in this case, the passion to rule the state has supplanted the passion of love. In other words, the relationship abandons romantic love for the passion of social elevation. Lady Macbeth fails to realize the importance of social structure, mistakenly corrupting her husband. Lady Macbeth instead inspires Macbeth, convincing him that power supercedes the natural social order. Lady Macbeth corrupts her husband's mind by questioning his masculinity, the results of which goad him into performing the deed. Lady Macbeth triumphs, for Macbeth kills the king. Even though Macbeth seems loyal toward his kingdom, Lady Macbeth is able to manipulate his desire of keeping social order with his ambition of power. Lady Macbeth has therefore completely corrupted his principles through the performance of this treacherous deed.

References
Shakespeare, William. (2003-2006). Macbeth. Retrieved May 9, 2006 from Open Source Shakespeare. http://www.opensourceshakespeare.org/views/plays/play_view.php WorkID=macbeth Read More
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