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Word Count: 1,549
According to Perry Besshye Shelley Power like a disease pollutes whatever it touches In other words many characters in literature become corrupted because of their quest for power I fully agree with Shelley that power pollutes everything that it touches because having too much power concentrated in the hands of one person leads to dictatorship and its bad consequences Power is the root of all evil is another interpretation of Shelleys statement This idea is demonstrated in the plays Hamlet and Macbeth both by William Shakespeare where major characters lead themselves to their downfall by trying to become very powerful In fact in both plays many major characters die because of one persons ambition to become a powerful king In Hamlet Claudius murders his brother marries his former sister-in-law the Queen and ascends to the throne of Denmark These three deeds are performed by a shrewd and self-serving man The King will do almost anything to protect the throne in spite of knowing that he did not rightfully earn it He resorts to underhanded tactics such as spying manipulation and deceit in order to overcome whatever he perceives as a threat to his supreme position As a result of Hamlets meeting with the ghost of his father Hamlets behavior changes Everyone perceives this change as lunacy due to Hamlets inability to accept the death of his father However Claudius does not believe that this is the root cause of Hamlets madness Since he is uncertain of Hamlets knowledge of his secret Claudius feels that his supremacy is being threatened by HamletClaudius sends for Hamlets childhood friends Gildenstern and Rosencrantz to assist him with getting to the source of Hamlets so called transformation Claudius exercises his power and plays on their loyalty and respect for his position in addition to their long-standing friendship with Hamlet in order to get their cooperation When Polonius presents the idea to Claudius that Hamlets madness is due to his daughter
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