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Achieve power

We often get to hear stories about people who want to achieve power, especially if it’s just at arms length. Many of these people are consumed by greed and the need for security. Sometimes, they also become irrational and harsh, that they do things impulsively without thinking about the consequences and eventually suffer from the guilt. And this is what happened in the play Macbeth. The main character, Macbeth was presented as somebody who is strong, as he is a Scottish general. At the beginning of the play he had just won a battle. But we soon find out that his strength is just physical.

I think that he does not have the strength to get himself out of a situation that he did not want to be in the beginning. And I say this because when three witches tell him of a prophecy that he will be thane of Cawdor and eventually king, he was a bit moved by the statements made. Because if he just ignored it, then he probably would not think about the prophecy being true. He would have just thought that it was a coincidence that he was made thane of Cawdor. And even if he did believe the prophecy, he should not have listened to his wife.

Hamlet on the other hand, had his hands full with certain issues already being thrown at the start of the play. Stressed with his father’s death and his mother’s instant marriage to his uncle, Hamlet is forced to stay at home from college and has been grieving for four months already. Hamlet is often found contemplating on these issues, plus his on and off relationship with Ophelia. This tells us that he has passion, and that he is not only about his philosophies and his studies. It tells us that in the start of the play, if he did have a plot to seek revenge for the death of his father, it was not yet materialized.

As Macbeth’s story progresses, we find the blood of his murders in his hands and his conscience nowhere to be found. He did not plan to kill that many people, only the king to assume kingship, which he did already turn his back on, have his wife not pressured him to do. But when the circumstances turned against him and the need to silence the others from revealing his secret, he killed more. He is weak; he cannot control himself from doing things that will destroy him. His desire to get what he wants has turned himself into a person who is at first was not willing to get his hands dirty, but eventually finds himself in killing spree.

Macbeth does have reason because he still feels guilt and thus cannot enjoy the happiness of being on top and fulfilling his ambitions. But he looses his reason because his emotions are so wildly intense that they take over him, that in the end it was still his emotion that ruled him. If Macbeth is on a killing spree and that he does not plan these killings well, we find that Hamlet is out to do something about his mother’s marriage to his uncle, and it was strengthened when his father’s ghost appeared to him claiming that it was Claudius who killed him.

Hamlet wants this statement proved, hence, he set up a play and got the actors to re-enact how Claudius killed Hamlet’s father. Believing Claudius guilty, he immediately told this to his mother and he instantly kills Polonius, without even looking at him. This tells us that Hamlet is very emotional and harsh, and that he believes his actions have reasons, and his reason being that he already proved to himself Claudius’ guilt. He wanted to seek revenge for his father’s death, which he probably thinks makes him rational. As the play comes to an end, we find Macbeth in his final battle.

In a place where he has always been good at, the battlefield. But unfortunately this time, he did not get the prophecy to side by him because it was predicted that he will die in this battle. In a way we see Macbeth succumb to his loss with much aggression, maybe it is out of the want to get things over and done with, as he has nothing more to lose. Maybe what he was thinking about when he was fighting in that battle was that he deserves this, after all he was a very bad person, adding more proof to his emotional side.

We also see that Hamlet dies in a battle, but it was because of his grief for Ophelia’s death which drove him to engage in this circumstance that Laertes and Claudius planned. The supernatural world has its role on Macbeth’s and Hamlet’s story. It was possibly the propeller of events. In Macbeth, the three witches were the ones who told him about what will happen. But it will always be Macbeth’s decision, no matter how hard the witches will be on him regarding his fate. I guess in a way this tells us that humans are susceptible to believe in prophecies and that we have the capability to make it happen.

The only question is will we allow ourselves to be consumed by such supernatural powers to let them decide on our fate? A person who loses reason easily and lets emotion rule will be bait to such a circumstance. Meanwhile, it was his father’s ghost that gave Hamlet a motive to kill Claudius. But I think the difference between Hamlet and Macbeth regarding the supernatural is that Hamlet wanted proof first before he actually makes a move. Macbeth, on the contrary, does not. He thinks it was enough proof that he was made thane of Cawdor to make the prophecy come true, and not just a mere coincidence.

Also, Hamlet’s motives are personal, and he seeks revenge. But Macbeth seeks more power. There are several similarities on the character’s emotion and reason. They are both driven, perhaps emotionally. And they also try to find a reason for all that is happening. Although Macbeth uses conscience as his reason but eventually does not listen to it, Hamlet uses reason to question what has been happening in his life and also uses reason in his pursuit of knowledge. Both die in the end, but Hamlet dies with this thought that all he wanted was justice for his father’s death, while Macbeth dies because he was just greedy of power.

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