Similarities Between Macbeth And Animal Farm

Submitted By thebadvvolf
Words: 543
Pages: 3

William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and George Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ have many similarities and differences, but texts illustrate the dangers of unrestrained ambition. ‘Macbeth’ was written in 1606, during the reign of James I, who, because of the ‘Divine Right of Kings’, was the most powerful figure in the nation at the time. With his assumed Godly appointed power, came his abuse of it; he had many unpopular policies, and as a result, was the target of many assassination attempts. James I also believed his was the descendant of the mythical Banquo, whose sons became kings. Shakespeare reinforces his belief by including a similar character of the same name in his ‘Macbeth’, most likely to please the king. On the other hand, Orwell’s ‘Animal Farm’ is a fable with metaphorical and cynical criticism directed at the Soviet Union, Communism, and dictatorship in general in 1945, when suspicions regarding Russia were at their peak.
Ambition is first seen in ‘Macbeth’ when Macbeth encounters the witches for the first time. Banquo describes his friend as “rapt” with the predictions of “noble having” and “royal hope”. The verb “rapt” gives imagery of Macbeth entranced by these predictions and his ambition taking hold of him, perhaps foreshadowing the “borrow’d robes” he will later be ‘wrapped in’, but by no will of his own, which could also give “rapt” the meaning of being trapped and hypnotised by the witches and the robes, as if he is tied up in the robes. “Rapt” also could imply Macbeth being rapt by his ambition, so he cannot see anything else, showing how ambition can take over a person’s mind. This could be reflection of Macbeth’s character, or human nature by Shakespeare, illustrating how a character who in the beginning was praised for his loyalty and nobility can be turned into a power-hungry tyrant by ambition. Orwell writes a similar warning in ‘Animal Farm’, stating “power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.” Meaning ambition to gain things, such as power, can lead to that person seeing nothing else, and committing cruel