The Behaviour Of Society In Macbeth

1311 Words6 Pages
Shakespeare uses Macbeth to criticize the behaviour of society today. Although written many years ago during the 1600’s, Macbeth is a classic example of the struggles and problems that occur in everyday life. It shows how appearances can be misleading, people can be self-centered, and how power can corrupt even the best of intentions. Through these three ways, Shakespeare critiques society and points out its major flaws.

One of the main themes in Macbeth is person versus society, which points out that nothing is as it appears to be. Shakespeare uses this theme, however, to point out the imperfections in society. Through Macbeth he is able to show how appearances can be deceiving; and how nothing good comes out of putting on an act for others,
…show more content…
Macbeth himself was always yearning for power. It is first shown when he is made thane of Cawdor, and is jealous of Malcolm for becoming heir of the throne. “As Macbeth hears the title given to Malcolm, he shows again the conflict within him between ambition and fear.” (Campbell 216) His greed and ambition for more gets the better of him, as he plots with Lady Macbeth to kill King Duncan and become the heir to the throne. This was a very selfish act in his position; by killing Duncan and becoming king, Macbeth disrupted the chain of being and doomed all of society as a whole. “The Great Chain of Being was supposed to keep the Earth in a stable condition and order. Anything that breaks this chain of order was said to disrupt the stability of the universe.” (Wikka 1) Macbeth was selfish to commit this act for nothing but personal gain. In the end he was not even content with the outcome, just like the people around him. “I’ll go no more: / I am afraid to think what I have done” (II.ii.48-49) Therefore, selfishness only leads to unhappiness and trouble for all. This is shown, also, when Macbeth begins to keep his wife out from his life. He begins killing and ordering murders without informing her, and she feels that she has a right to know. After all, she is the one who assisted him in the murder of King Duncan. “Macbeth’s self-centered ambitions and desires prevent…show more content…
There are many different ways to define the word power; “the ability to do or act, to have authority or influence, to have great force.” (Webster 505) No matter the definition, they all describe exactly what Macbeth wanted, and that is control. Macbeth wants it so badly that he is willing to do unspeakable things in order to attain it. The witches make a prophecy that Macbeth will be king, and Banquo will have a line of kings but not be one. Things makes Macbeth question why he will not have a line of kings, and makes him somewhat upset. Because of this, he decides he must kill Banquo, so that there will be no heir. “Macbeth plots the murder of Banquo, out of jealousy and insecurity.” (Hompi 1) This is obviously an absurd idea, and prior to Macbeth’s murder of King Duncan he never would have considered it as a solution. Shakespeare uses this to show how power corrupts even the best of people. It is obvious that this is still a problem in society today, as people start off with good intentions but slowly get sidetracked. Before long, their objectives have changed completely. This is exactly what happened to Macbeth. He started off as a warrior with nothing but good intentions. However, because of the witches’ prophecies, his thoughts changed slowly over time. “Macbeth suffers from overconfidence as a result of the

More about The Behaviour Of Society In Macbeth

Open Document