How would you compare Michael Corleone, in the Godfather, to Macbeth?How would you compare Michael Corleon, in the God father, to Macbeth, in the book written by shakespear. 

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ashcat eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Well, Michael Corleon and Macbeth are both men manipulated by circumstance.

Macbeth is a man with a proud lineage and a reputation that has granted him the opportunity to be given titles and lands. He is given responsibilities and duties, yet he is teased with the promise of one day becoming king. Various circumstances, such as his encounter with the witches, Duncan's decision to stay at Macbeth's castle, MacDuff's sudden arrival and even Macbeth's final duel with MacDuff all work to warp Macbeth and shape him into the tyrant he is by the play's end.

Michael is shaped by circumstance in the same way. He is born into a mafia family and although he tries to get out, the attempted murder of his father and the murder of his older brother pull him back in. He is caught in the web of the mafia and cannot escape. Michael attempts to change the 'family business' from the inside out, but instead he is the one who is changed, taking on the role of Godfather after his own father's death and the systematic elemination of challenging mafia families.

There is also the issue of family that affect both Macbeth and Michael.

Due to Macbeth's deep devotion for his wife, he is willing to do anything for her and when she insists that he kill Duncan, he does so despite his conscience. It is also Macbeth's ambition for his own family to continue on the throne that causes him to have Banquo killed and defy the witches' prophecy.

In Michael's case, the dynamic of the Italian-American family and mob lifestyle play a big part in shaping Michael into the Godfather he will eventually become. His love, devoition and loyalty to his father lead Michael to make a hit on his father's attempted murderers. He escapes to Sicily, falls in love and marries, only to have his bride killed by rival mob members. In a vain attempt to protect his family and make them legitimately respectable, Michael only succeeds in completing his own corruption.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The difference between Michael Corleone and Macbeth is that Michael never wanted power until the power structure was falling apart.  Michael stepped up.  He is actually more analogous to Malcolm.  Malcolm didn’t want to be king, but when Macbeth killed his father he forced his hand.  Malcolm had to go into hiding, as did Michael, and he too had a worthless brother in Donalbain.  Malcolm returns to power, but has to build an army from exile and kill everyone to put his family back in power and bring peace to the kingdom.

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