How Power Can Affect A Person For The Better And The Worst By Comparing The Characters Of Duncan And

1645 Words Dec 18th, 2015 7 Pages
Power can change a person in a way that is incomprehensible. If placed in the wrong hands, it’s effects can be deleterious. The greed for power can make people do outrageous things. It can change a person for the worst, however that is not necessarily always the case. In the play Macbeth, Shakespeare shows how power can affect a person for the better and the worst by comparing the characters of Duncan and Macbeth. Although King Duncan only appears in the first act of Macbeth, his role in the play is significant. Shakespeare utilizes him as a character to allow the audience to draw a vivid contrast between Scotland under Duncan’s rule and under Macbeth’s.
First of all, both characters possessed a large amount of power, however they wielded it in completely different ways. From the very first moment that we meet Duncan, he is already demonstrating the characteristic of a good king. Duncan executes his power righteously by rewarding those who are loyal to him and punishing those who are not. Upon receiving the news of victory in battle, King Duncan immediately announces punishment and reward in the same breath, “No more that Thane of Cawdor shall deceive/ Our bosom interest: go, pronounce his present death, / And with his former title greet Macbeth” (Macbeth, I, ii, 73-75). Duncan bestows the title of the Thane of Cawdor upon Macbeth and promises to repay both him and Banquo for all that they have done. He then uses his power to punish the late Thane of Cawdor for his…

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