Mac-nipulation In William Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”, manipulation is a very effective device. The main character Macbeth is a puppet controlled by the words coming from the three witches and Lady Macbeth. The four troublemakers provide Macbeth with the motivation and confidence he needs to kill Duncan and perform other dark actions. Macbeth is very ambitious; there’s no doubt about this. However, there is no sign of him changing from a loyal man to a power hungry man. That is until outside influences begin to interfere with his life.
The people with the greatest impact on Macbeth are his wife, Lady Macbeth and the witches. However, he then learns to manipulate others himself. In the end, all the treachery is revealed and he realizes that he has been a pawn in this whole scheme of achieving absolute power. Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband on two occasions. “Glamis thou art, and Cawdor, and shalt be, what thou art promised: yet do I fear thy nature; it is too full o’ the milk of human kindness, to catch the nearest way: thou woulds’t be great:” (I, v). First she flatters Macbeth and soothes his early fears of committing these dreadful acts.
During the party she uses her most powerful persuasion, as she begins to question Macbeth’s honor and manhood by saying that he is less of a man if he fails in killing Duncan. Macbeth feels so much shame that he’s convinced that it is right for him to take action. If it weren’t for Lady Macbeth’s harassment, Macbeth would have never gone down this awful road that has an inevitable dead-end. However, the witches are at the roots of all this manipulation. The witches are the first to raise the possibility of Kingship and persuade Macbeth to act on it. “All hail Macbeth; hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!
All hail Macbeth; hail to thee, Thane of Glamis! All hail Macbeth; thou shat be King hereafter. ”(I, iii) The witches are polite towards Macbeth. They all hail to him, showing respect and flattery. They then offer him a truth, that he is the Thane of Cawdor. When the witches tell Macbeth of the two other prophecies he begins to think to himself of the possibilities of actually becoming King of Scotland. He wonders why the witches said that the prophecies were bad when they are such good news. Once again the witches offer half-truths to Macbeth and he is easily persuaded that he’s invincible and almighty. Be Bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn/ the power of man, for none of woman born/ shall harm Macbeth. ” (IV, i). Macbeth believes that he is unconquerable because of the visions from the witches. The manipulation of the bloody Child gave Macbeth a false sense of security. Macbeth thinks that there is no person that has not been born of a woman, which is what makes him think he is even more unbeatable. This is the second and last time that Macbeth hears from the witches. Just like the first time, he reacts on impulse to them and winds up being murdered by Macduff, who was born from a cesarean section.
Macbeth’s first attempt at manipulation was unsuccessful. “If you shall cleave to my consent, when ‘tis/ it shall make honor for you. ” (II, i). Macbeth is trying to get Banquo to join him because he suspects Banquo may know about the murder of Duncan. Banquo is decent and doesn’t trust the witches’ prophecies so he chooses not to join Macbeth. Banquo shows his courage by standing up to Macbeth and doing what is right, not what is easy. Because Macbeth has failed to manipulate Banquo he decides to have him killed by two henchmen.
In addition, he tells them to kill Banquo’s son, Fleance because the witches manipulated Macbeth into believing that Banquo’s sons were the next in line to be king. Therefore, he also becomes just as much as a threat to Macbeth as Banquo is to him. Secondly, Macbeth attempts to appeal to the murderer’s sense of honor in the hopes of trying to get them to side with him. “Do you find your patience so predominant in your nature, that you can let this go? Are you so gospell’d, to pray for this good man and his issue, whose heavy hand hath bow’d you to the grave and beggar’d yours forever? ” (III, i).
Macbeth explains to the murderers that it has been Banquo that has betrayed them all along and he convinces them that Banquo is the true enemy. Here Macbeth uses the same tactics his wife used on him and he is successful in manipulating the murderer’s to go out and commit this murder for him. Macbeth is offering truth and lies to the murderers, as the witches did to manipulate him into killing Duncan. Although Macbeth does succumb to his wife and the witches’ persuasive methods, he becomes as good at manipulation as they do, maybe even better. However, in the end, manipulation is shown to be, no more than falseness and deception. Jakob Jubert
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