How can one connect Macbeth with Orwell's 1984?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I think that one distinct connection that can be made  between both works is the absolute moral despair that results from political leadership.  Both works are highly critical of political leadership.  Macbeth seizes political leadership out of his own personal ego and his own sense of ambition.  His actions do little to enhance the general good.  Big Brother's leadership in Orwell's Oceania is in much the same light, where actions taken are only done to substantiate its own leadership capacity and capability.  In both works, leadership is not a vehicle for moral righteousness.  In fact, the message that comes out of both is a warning to unchecked and unlimited political power.  Little good comes from either form of political leadership.  Shakespeare's Macbeth ends up losing his power, while Orwell's vision is much bleaker as Big Brother never relinquishes power.  In both settings, political leadership is not geared toward an authentic exercise of making life better for more people and does not seek to provide a moral center.  Rather, it is an exercise in self- glorification, demonstrating a fundamental danger of modern usurpation of power.

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