Macbeth’s Obsession with Power

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

In the play Macbeth by Shakespeare, on page 147, the important truth of the play leaks out through Macbeth’s lines. In this one lucid moment, Macbeth realizes that life isn’t worth living without his wife, and he realizes he has gone through a metamorphosis into a power-hungry monster, both caused by his lust for power. The speech illustrates that power will always lead a man astray.

In his hunt for power, Macbeth has indefinitely ended the lives of at least 4 people.

Creating a blood stain on his conscience that he will never be able to rid himself of. But, these deaths have hardened and changed him. He has become immunte to the disgust and fear that comes along with gore. There was a time when “To hear a night-shriek and my fellof hair would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir as life were in’t” (A5 S5 L11-13). This refers to before he murdered Duncan, where both he and Lady Macbeth were afraid of a night-shriek, or an owl.

She cried “Hark, peace! It was the owl that shrieked” (A2 S2 L2-3). But now, after his drive for power is coming to an end, he realizes how much power has changed his family.

In Macbeth’s small speech on 147, he is saying that time moves quickly and that life is short. He says “Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day…Out, out, brief candle” (A5 S5 L 18-19, 22). This line uses both a metaphor and personification, by saying that tomorrow creeps, he is saying that one thinks they have all the time in the world, but before one knows it, their time is up.

He continues on to use the metaphor ‘brief candle’, he is comparing candle with a short wick to the lifespan of a human, who just burns it away. At the end of this speech, he says “It is a tale told by an idiot…signifying nothing” (A5 S5 L26-27). At that point, is when he is finally saying life is nothing, it has no meaning. The reader sees here that he has fallen so far from the beginning of the play, all because of his appetite for power.

If you compare Macbeth’s character at the end of the play to Macbeth’s character at the beginning of the play, the changes are clear. A man who had morals, had a happy life, but as soon as he disregarded them, his life fell apart. Shakespeare is trying to show the readers that nothing good can come out of too much of one thing, in this case, power. Like the old adage says “Everything in moderation”.

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