Power In Shakespeares Macbeth And Related Text Wallsend Essay

840 words - 4 pages

An Individual’s Perspective Of Power Is A Reflection Of Their View Of The World
Factors that influence ones decisions are vital in shaping that individuals perspective on both power and the
world that they live in. The views, beliefs and opinions of their time period dictate how they exert and respond
to a sense of power. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is aware of the lack of power that she
has due to the beliefs regarding ones gender during the Elizabethan era. Robert Browning’s poem,
Porphyria’s Lover shows a shift of power in a relationship, reversing the typical roles of men and women in
the Victorian era. The characters awareness of the circumstances surrounding their partners, allow them to
use power for personal gain.
It is essential to understand how some individuals acquire power when others do not and why some retain
their power once they have attained it. In Macbeth, Shakespeare’s portrayal of Lady Macbeth presents her
as being menial when comparing her to a society that is predominately controlled by men. She recognises
this, and is able to influence her husbands actions for her own yearning. Within her soliloquy, Lady
Macbeth’s sudden realisation that her husband does not posses the qualities required to act on her behalf
and her attempt to entice him is evident in the lines “That I may pour my spirits in thine ear,” and “Art not
without ambition, but without the illness should attend it.” The idea of Lady Macbeth “pouring spirits” is used
as a metaphor in order to create imagery, showing that her intentions to influence Macbeth are intentional as
she wishes to attain power herself. She describes the necessary ruthless streak as an ‘illness’, suggesting
that even at this stage she knows what she is planning to do is wrong. Her determination to use her power to
influence her husband is distinctively shown through these two quotes. Lady Macbeth is aware that the place
of women within her time period prevents her from using power directly and as a result must use it through
Macbeth. When she calls upon scheming spirits asking to “unsex me here,” Lady Macbeth is pleading them
to rid her of a soft, feminine facade and is asking to obtain a more ruthless nature. She desires an internal
transformation, and later tells Macbeth to do the same when she exclaims, “Look like the innocent flower, but
be the serpent under it,” expressing to him that in order to be productive, he must remain innocent like a
flower while, in reality,...

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