An Analysis of Power in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

In the play "Macbeth," Shakespeare poses a topical socio-political and moral-ethical problem: how "virtue can compete with the monarch’s will" and whether the king must defend personal interests or serve the state and his compatriots. The power of Renaissance titanium in "Macbeth" during the spiritual crisis degenerated not just into extreme individualism and individualistic religion, but into the idea of ​​a strong, powerful personality capable of creating a single powerful empire. Macbeth is the type of king of the Protestant-bourgeois era who described Machiavelli in his treatise "The Sovereign," Montaigne depicted in his "Experiments." Machiavelli’s goal is to show the changes in the public consciousness of a king, politics, and the system of public administration that took place as a result of the events of the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. Machiavelli, recognizing freedom of will as "the will to power" (Nietzsche), thinks already as a democrat, an ideologue of a new, bourgeois type, represented in the image of Macbeth. In this play, the path to power lies through violence, the force of arms, and conquest, because, in Machiavelli’s view, "the passion for conquest is a natural and ordinary thing," and if a king can use force, he is "rarely threatened with failure." Macbeth is a vivid example of how power can change a man. As for an analysis of power in Macbeth by William Shakespeare, in the image of Macbeth, Shakespeare connects the power of the tyranny with the established freedom of the Protestant-humanist person, which seeks to subjugate the whole world to its will: "I dare all that man dares, and only the beast is more capable." Montaigne set other goals, applying his moral philosophy to the image of man similar to king in his various socio-domestic and moral manifestations, "exposing the everyday life and devoid of any luster," and "life more meaningful and eventful," attaching the great importance of a person of a king to socio-political problems of modern society. Observing in France the extreme form of perversion of state power, Montaigne exposes the power of tyranny and cruelty of the rulers, believing that "the good qualities of earthly lords are dead." This is proved by the image of king Macbeth. Like Montaigne, in the play "Macbeth," Shakespeare saw the tyrannical nature and power of English absolutism, he also questioned the authority of violence-based power, believing that the most worthy activity of power was to serve society and the interests of the nation, agreeing with Montaigne that "worthy reign" is the most difficult and complex thing in the world." In the spirit of modern Catholic-Protestant anthropology, which preserved Manichean dualism in the view of man, in the play "Macbeth," Shakespeare shows the struggle of good and evil in the soul of king Macbeth as equal principles, reflecting the ideological movements of the era in their real historical contradictions. At the same time, Shakespeare in the representation of the king Macbeth considers the problem of good and evil from a humanistic point of view in the spirit of the Christian humanism of Erasmus of Rotterdam, who argued in his controversy with Luther that "by free will we mean the power of human desire to approach eternal salvation, or turn away from it." Hence, man is free to choose between good and evil independently, but given that freedom in choosing evil leads to his enslavement to sin (e.g., Macbeth). Slavery in sin is associated by the playwright with a deviation from the truth, with the deceptive delusion of sorcery, which resorts Macbeth, believing that he is led to power by fate itself, and witches are only its performers. This is persuaded by Macbeth and his wife, the person of Lady Macbeth, in which, as in the "prophetic sisters," there is a strong demonic feature, in the beginning, ascending to the customs of Celtic-British folk-pagan people and ancient mythological demonology. Still, she also has a belief in Protestant doom, and it acts together with the witches in "Macbeth." The Pagan-Protestant doom deprives Macbeth of any responsibility for what he has done, relying on the predictions of witches, the king becomes helpless, unable to resist evil, which allows us to speak of Shakespeare’s doubts about the truth of Protestant ethics. The Reformation’s abolition powers of ecclesiastical mechanisms that restrain man from sin (prayer, confession, fasting, vows) attracted the power of freedom of action, which led to the emergence of secular religion, guiding a person to achieve earthly, economic or political goals and contributes to a new type of "businessman" or "woman" of the Renaissance (e.g., lady Macbeth). Freed from the influence of the church, which embodied spiritual authority and unifying society, a person found himself subject to the harsher, tyrannical power of authority of the Old Testament God (Yahweh), which requires complete submission of a lady or a Macbeth and his destruction as a person, as this was the main condition for the power of salvation. Luther’s dogma states: "A God-fearing person has no free will: he is a prisoner, a slave and a servant of the will of the Lord or the will of Satan." Combining the pagan people’s belief of the powers of destiny with Protestant doom for Macbeth means merging with the divine will, and this allows the king to accept the pagan people’s prophecies of witches as divine predictions that allow Macbeth to seek power in any way, even without his participation. In the play "Macbeth," the power of self-disclosure of a titanic personality mired in evil occurs when Macbeth attains the supreme power when he feels contempt and hatred of his subjects, which makes the king lonely, rejected by all and leads to frustration in life, which in his view is only a "shadow, comedian." The play "Macbeth" includes many words and passions of the powers, and it just doesn’t make sense." Shakespeare connects king Macbeths loss of meaning in life with the disintegration of his spiritual essence and the distortion of the "image of God," the unquenchable thirst for power, the involvement in the sin of murder, as the author says long before the tragic finale of the play "Macbeth," pointing to a tragic end. As it is shown by the example of lady Macbeth and the king, and the witches, the powers over the Renaissance personality are reflected in the following statement: "Forgetting wisdom, honor, and shame, king Macbeth despises fear, fate and death, and death awaits him, like all those who believe too much in their success, neglecting interests of the other people." Throughout the whole plot of the play "Macbeth," Shakespeare comes to a certain maturity in his creative, socio-political and moral-ethical views on the state and the person of the king, leaning towards the popular-patriotic idea, incompatible with the bloody violence of power, which is expressed in the victory of popular morality of both the king and lady Macbeth. "Macbeth" is the tragic play of valor poisoned by ambition, depicts the path of a king and his lady created for exploits and generosity, but changed that by vocation. Overwhelmed by an immense thirst for power, blinded by his own and selfish passions, to snatch him from the circle of human society, Macbeth’s powers arise as the king and his lady forget about their native country and people, the world of its huts, sacrificing the peace and prosperity of Scotland to Macbeth’s individualistic ambition. Macbeth is a wonderful historical portrait of the "heroes" of the era of primitive accumulation, for whom overcoming the old morality turned into amoralism, and the urge for creative action – in a predatory will to power and reign as a king over people. In "Macbeth," Shakespeare reflected not only the fiery passions, powers, and violent political upheavals of the time, in which heroism often went hand in hand with crime but also the Macbeths reappraisal of all values, the crisis of moral consciousness characteristic of the era of primitive accumulation, as this is explicitly shown in the examples of lady Macbeth and witches. This feeling is conveyed to the exclamation of the "prophetic sisters" of the initial scene of the tragedy "Macbeth," which serves not only as a prelude but, in this case, the key to it. In the tragedy "Macbeth" (1606) by W. Shakespeare, the power of the events is reflected in the political coup of the XI century, when the power of the king and his first lady was associated with the usurpation of the throne by the Scottish ruler such as Macbeth. The example of Macbeth shows the collapse and moral decline of the titanic personality. Shakespeare shows how heroism goes hand in hand with a crime, and there are a crisis and reappraisal of human values, following Macbeths example. Infernal images of witches have a special place in the plot development of the tragedy "Macbeth." Three witches depicted in "Macbeth," on the one hand, as imagined by the people of Shakespeare’s era, that is, as women who entered into an alliance with an evil force for the acquisition of supernatural abilities and the superficial power. On the other hand, in the text of Shakespeare’s tragedy, they are mentioned several times, to intensify their power. The appearance of three witches in power takes place in the first scene of "Macbeth." Dressed in gray rags, with long flowing hair, with beards (according to popular belief), they, lost in a close circle, in separate phrases try to tell about their adventures and power of wisdom. Shakespeare Macbeths adheres to all known ideas about witches in power, relating not only to their appearance but also behavior. Yes, they pronounce the words trochee – a special rhythm of magical beings of the power. Witches mention "cat," "frog," meaning by them the evil spirits that live under the guise of these animals gaining power. The scene ends with a phrase he uttered in three choruses, following Macbeth’s perception of reality. The next appearance of the three witches in "Macbeth" takes place in the third scene. First, they tell each other about their antics in the power of the human world. Then at the sound of a drum, they are warning Macbeth, the exit of the commanders, witches run down the hill, begin to lead a round dance, and sing in choruses. Macbeth and Banco appear on the opposite side of the stage and, having climbed to the top of the hill, stop. Macbeth’s first words echo the witch’s sentence from the first scene. After the bloody battle in which Macbeth won, he speaks. The culmination of the infernal, or "Gothic" motif in "Macbeth," is the scene of the first act of IV. In this scene, there are not only supernatural images of the power, but also the notion that Macbeth reproduces a certain "Gothic" entourage. Thus, the composition of the infernal potion, which is brewed in a cauldron placed in the "pit of Acheron," is described in the power of detail. It includes a frog that for thirty-one days and as many nights poured poison, bat hair, frog paw, dog tongue, baby finger, born a prostitute in a ditch and strangled at birth, dragon scales, wolf tooth, and many other items, unpleasant or dangerous to humans and Macbeths. These details, of course, increased the fear and disgust of the audience, who retained faith in the power of existence of the afterlife. Therefore, the tragedy "Macbeth" is focused on the analytical perception of the power of good and evil. Macbeths are aware that they stay in power and the reign until Macbeth joins "the dance of death" reflected in the illusions of reality. Macbeth feels the power of reality and realizes how important the life of earthly pleasures is for his ambitions. The power of wisdom is the most essential for Macbeths.