essays

Knowledge, Power, Language, Truth on Macbeth

Introduction

Macbeth is a 2015 made through a collaboration between the British, French and Americans. It is a film adaptation of the Shakespearian play that is named after the title character. It stars Michael Fassbender, Marion Cortilard among other international film stars. The film was directed by Justin Kurzel who uses many of the plays scenes to bring the film into life. The movie is divided into acts, just as the original play was, and tries to stay true to the original writings of Shakespeare. The filming was done in several pristine locations that almost mirrored the settings that Shakespeare had in mind.

Themes                                       

Power

The movie is a good example of how power can influence people. The film’s protagonist is a man after power, and not just any power but kingly powers. He serves under the current King Duncan. He is a soldier who fights for the kingdom, thus under King Duncan’s rule. In the opening scenes of the film, Macbeth goes to war to fight for his king and wins a victory over the opponents. He however incurs heavy losses on his side with the deaths of many of his men.  The king hears the good news and goes to reward him for his bravery and loyalty in the battlefield.

The king Duncan rewards Macbeth with the title Thane of Cawdor which had been prophesied by some witches after   the war in the battlefield. They also prophesy that Macbeth will be the future king. The king however names someone else as his heir in a feast held in honor of Macbeth. This makes Macbeth go forth and kill the king in his sleep to usurp his power as the king after being coerced by his wife for long.

The power to rule in this world was a God-given right. Thus Macbeth does evil by taking the life of the king who was given authority to rule by divine intervention. His victory in the last battle and the new title given to him makes him drunk with power and go against the will of God. The person approved to be next heir is actually Malcolm, who witnesses Macbeth’s evil act and flees for his life. The absolute power that he now wields starts to corrupt him absolutely. He does not have the backing of God to commit such a heinous act.

The movie depicts the power of the kings to be a divine right given by God, meaning Macbeth had no right to try to take it for him. The film shows that power is naturally given by God, until when it is taken, in this case by Macbeth. He has sinned by disobeying God and killing his king and appointing himself as the heir of the throne. The film propagates the idea that absolute power is acceptable, only of given by God since it comes directly from him. This was the accepted notion during the time the play by Shakespeare was written, meaning it was acceptable by the people of that era.

The film allows for the death of Macbeth, since he went against God’s will and murdered the true king. His death is justified by the fact that he has become a tyrant, wielding power that was not originally his, and should be given to people only approved by God. The film however does not explain how to best determine that Macbeth has become a tyrant who misuses his power thus should meet his untimely death too. In the end, he meets his untimely demise, just as he had killed his own king beforehand.

Knowledge

The film shows the protagonist looking for power and knowledge. As Macbeth kills the king and usurps the power, he becomes king, which means he can now have access to vast knowledge on the kingdom.  The aftermath of the power gained is the knowledge that comes with it. In his position of power, King Macbeth is privy to the information that concerns his kingdom. The witches that prophesied his rise to power, also prophesy the deaths of Banqou and his future. The knowledge he gained before that enabled him to take the throne now turns to be a curse.

The knowledge he gets of the future makes him ambitious and drives him to kill his king. The knowledge comes to serve him in a destructive way. His future as king is foretold to him by the witches. As the king, he realizes too late that the knowledge he gets as the king has become injurious to him. Through his position of power, he concludes that with the knowledge he has, he will never be at peace as the king. The witches, and his wife, using the knowledge of his future, egg him on to commit murder and take the position for him.

Macbeth know the danger of having certain knowledge, thus he tries to protect his wife from it. He tells his wife “be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck.” He makes his statement just before going to kill Banquo and Fleance. He is trying to shield his wife from the details which may affect her in the future. The purpose of this is to have her maintain a clear conscience after committing the murders. The power that he gained by killing his king has started to cause him discomfort as they lead him to commit more evil acts. His actions from the beginning have turned against him, turning him into a worried man always looking over his shoulder. The power he gains becomes useless to him.

Macbeth comes to the conclusion based on the knowledge that he has that he is better off dead. He thinks about King Duncan, who is no longer in power, being dead, and does not have to worry about any threats to his life. The dead people in the story now have clear consciences, having not to worry about anyone in their lives. Ultimately, he desires death as a means to escape the harsh reality that has become his world. The dead are at peace with the world, having no one to haunt them in their lives.

Importance of Rhetoric Text

Rhetoric text is used to explain situations where mainstream subtleties may miss the entire point. It is used to mask the intention of the writer. The message will still be understood by those targeted. It distorts our perception while delivering the underlying message. The focus is not on the mainstream delivery but analysis of the situation. The rhetorical text showcases itself as Macbeth’s attempt to hold onto power turns him into a tyrant who suffers the same fate as the king he executes. Despite all the power he acquires he is unable to live peacefully from then henceforth. The absolute power becomes useless to him. It shows us that even with all the power, Macbeth still feels powerless.

Conclusion

Power and knowledge in the play go hand in hand. The fate of Macbeth is decided on the knowledge that he gains and makes his start to question whether it was all worth it in the end. His ambitions have made his life a living hell, turning him into an evil murderous tyrannical king who was not appointed by God. He becomes a representation of evil in the film, due to his actions. The rhetorical text showcases itself as Macbeth’s attempt to hold onto power turns him into a tyrant who suffers the same fate as the king he executes. Despite all the power he acquires he is unable to live peacefully from then henceforth. The absolute power becomes useless to him.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *