What are 2 quotes from Macbeth that are of significance of a Confucian leadership role and a Machiavellian role?

2 Answers | Add Yours

kristenfusaro's profile pic

kristenfusaro | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Assistant Educator

Posted on

By Confucian leadership role, it can be assumed that the character of Macbeth would be read against the philosophy of Ritual, Righteousness, Humanity, Knowledge, and Integrity. Thus, the "Confucian" Macbeth would be the Macbeth prior to murdering King Duncan.

MACBETH: He's here in double trust:
First, as I am his kinsman and his subject,
Strong both against the deed; then, as his host,
Who should against his murderer shut the door,(15)
Not bear the knife myself.

At this point, Macbeth is deciding whether or not he should murder King Duncan, but his conscious is stronger than his desire to murder. It is particularly Confucian in that it demonstrates the importance of being a host, being a subject, and in a sense, filial piety (devotion to one's parents). Macbeth very much looks at Duncan like a father-figure, which can be shown when Lady Macbeth refuses to complete the murder but cannot because Duncan resembled her father as he slept.

Machiavellianism, on the opposite spectrum, is the means of deceiving others for personal gain. This, naturally, would be after King Duncan's murder. While there are a world of examples, the scene between Macbeth and the Murderers stands out as a perfect example of exploitation in the Machiavellian sense.

MACBETH:
Well then, now(80) Have you consider'd of my speeches? Know That it was he, in the times past, which held you So under fortune, which you thought had been Our innocent self? This I made good to you In our last conference, pass'd in probation with you(85) How you were borne in hand, how cross'd, the instruments, Who wrought with them, and all things else that might To half a soul and to a notion crazed Say, “Thus did Banquo.”
In an effort to convince the Murderers to murder Banquo, Macbeth brainwashes them into believing that Banquo was at fault for them not receiving their promotions. He reiterates the fact that he has drawn up papers that prove this, ignoring the fact that these papers are either false, or that Banquo had true reason for disqualifying these men (considering they are thinking of murder, we would probably understand Banquo's decision!).
Even further, Macbeth challenges their manhood by comparing them to dogs:
MACBETH:
Ay, in the catalogue ye go for men, As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs,(100) Shoughs, waterrugs, and demi-wolves are clept All by the name of dogs.
He is berating them, challenging their masculinity, and accusing Banquo of falsity to convince these men to commit his crime -- and he does so successfully, thus making it a "Machiavelli" moment.
frizzyperm's profile pic

frizzyperm | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

Posted on

Confucius he say... Act I, Scene III  MACBETH:   If chance will have me king, why, chance
may crown me(165)
Without my stir.

Machiavelli thinks...

Act III, Scene II MACBETH:

Let your remembrance apply to Banquo;
Present him eminence, both with eye and tongue:
Unsafe the while, that we(35)
Must lave our honors in these flattering streams,
And make our faces vizards to our hearts,
Disguising what they are.

We’ve answered 318,972 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question