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Many may not understand the responsibility power comes with. Having power is something that not all people are able to handle. Power is constantly misused and abused whether in literature or in today’s society.
It has been proven throughout history and even now how power can be used unjustly. If a person has too much power they become egoistic and forget what is wrong or right. In society, power is abused in the workplace when often people control those below them or discriminated based on the amount of power a gender may have.
It is seen all the time today everywhere. When power is mismanaged it can influence negative actions onto a person. Actions that no one would want to commit. Whether it is the drive for more wealth or more fame, power can lead many down a path of evil and difficult decisions. In literature, an abuse of power is seen in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and in Golding’s Lord of the Flies when the main characters both abuse their power over their people and commit unspeakable crimes seen in today’s society. Power can influence people into doing things that are not morally correct.
Society and literature show how the abuse of power negatively influences people or characters into committing crimes or acting in ways they normally would not. In Macbeth, the urge to obtain Duncan’s power drives Macbeth into killing Duncan. In his soliloquy, Macbeth says “Thou marshal’s me the way that I was going, and such an instrument I was to use….
I see thee still,” (II.i.54-58). He is talking about how he sees the dagger and he knows what he has to do. In order to become King, he must kill Duncan. Although Macbeth knows this is wrong he lets the power take over the influence of his decision. Also, in Lord of the Flies power had influenced the boys to follow the actions of their leader, Jack who aggressively starts to kill the pig. Jack, perhaps to show he is in control, slaughters the pig being very inhumane. As well as getting the other boys to join him in a chant to murder the pig, “Kill the pig! Cut his throat! Kill the pig! Bash him in!” (Golding 52). His power over the boys creates a toxic environment when they kill the pig. The pig was murdered in a violent and barbaric way. Work environment sexual harassment cases can often be another example of an maltreatment of power. Often in many cases, women are sexually assaulted in their work environment.
Men in higher positions than women tend to believe anything that they do is justified. In a Chipotle restaurant in Texas a teen employee was assaulted by her manager one day at work. , “I went there just to work'(Fox 1) the man who assaulted her that day was her manager. The manager of the young Chipotle employee had greater power over the girl, being superior to her he violated her “more than 40 times”(Fox 1). Justice was served for the young girl, and power from the jury declared the manager guilty for “inappropriate sexual behavior”(Fox 2) toward the employee. Proving how authoritative figures can abuse their power on their employees and citizens to commit terrible actions. People in higher positions use their power for evil and control people lower than them. The power makes Macbeth speak to Lady Macbeth with a lower regard of respect. Macbeth is dismissive to his wife when he plans to kill Banquo. He acts as if she is not as capable or knowledgeable as him to help murder Banquo. Lady Macbeth asks him “What’s to be done? About Banquo because there is reason to believe he knows the evil deeds of Macbeth” (Shakespeare III.iii.50). Macbeth says to his wife, “Be innocent of the knowledge, dearest chuck, Till thou applaud the deed. Come, seeling night, Scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day” (Shakespeare III.iii.52-53). Macbeth is telling her not worry about his plan until the deed is done.
He uses his power he gained from killing Duncan to become more powerful. When he changes the tone toward his wife it is clear Macbeth is deeper in the downward spiral power has dug him into. In Lord of the Flies, since Jack and Ralph are both fighting for leadership they are disrespectful to the other boys and to each other. Jack says to Ralph “And you shut up! Who are you, anyway? Sitting there telling people what to do.(Golding 70)” Jack becomes more nasty in his tone now that he has gained power. Jack then added ‘I’m chief. I was chosen'(Golding 70) he is not just shifting his tone, but he is announcing his power over Ralph and the others. In society employees have been dealing with unfair treatment for years. For example, a man may have a better chance of getting a job than a woman just because people may deem the job as not fit for a woman. Credible evidence from Call the Right Attorney establishes that “in selecting White and not the plaintiff for police chief the true motive was intentional discrimination against the plaintiff because of her sex” (Law 1), proving that solely for the reason of her gender officer Overman was denied the position for Chief of Police. Before being denied the opening for Chief, despite her scoring the best the best along with one other candidate, Ov . Just another example of an abuse of power that lead to gender discrimination. With the incorrect mindset many believe women are not as powerful enough as men to do the same jobs. Which only further allows powered people to control those below them. Additionally, an abuse of power leads to violence. Power hungry people can become violent after becoming hungry for more power.
Whether it is two people battling for the throne or polices officers violently handling civilians, the idea of power controls how violent people can get. Macbeth becomes quite violent during his final attempts to protect his throne. While battling MacDuff, Macbeth has a confident stance throughout the fight. Macbeth says “Thou losest labor. As easy mayst thou the intrenchant air With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed. Let fall thy blade on vulnerable crests,” (Macbeth V.vii.11-14). Macbeth is gloating for MacDuff to fight someone stronger and that he is wasting his time because in Macbeth’s mind he cannot give up the throne without a fight. His need to stay powerful is the reason of his death. Another example of power leading to violence is when Jack is so persistent on killing the beast with his boys, they do not realize the “beast” they are tearing apart is Simon. They were so wild and careless they failed to realize that Simon was who they thought the beast was. Golding wrote “Surrounded by a fringe of inquisitive bright creatures, itself a silver shape beneath the steadfast constellations, Simon’s dead body moved out toward the open sea,'(Golding 154) the boys are not aware of the suffrage Simon was faced with. If only they were careful and less viscous when approaching said “beast” Simon would not have died. Jack’s confidence on locating the beast led to a murder simply for the wonders of something the boys had simply imagined. His abuse of power created a violent and gory death for Simon.
Even in America today, there seems to be a growing violence with police officers. There have been many cases of police officers abusing their power and being brutal with civilians. According from A Times New York article “A cop was repeatedly punching an unarmed black man and pushing him to the ground during an arrest” (Hauser). Yet this is only one example of police abusing their authority in their work environment. It has been acknowledged that police officers have constantly shot, harassed, along with arrested unarmed African Americans and other citizens because “they can”. Not only does an abuse of power leading to violence exist in literature but also in today’s news. Power will make people forget about laws and morals and overpower a person with aggression. People are constantly overstepping their authority in a violent and unhealthy manner. All in all, power is a dangerous thing and if a person is not careful it can do terrible things. It has the ability to control someone’s ability to make conscious decisions about their life. The desire for power can affect a person’s life, making them commit crimes like murder. It can change their life for the worst. People tend to abuse power in the workplace and on genders. People since Shakespeare’s time have used power for unjust reasons to prove authority, or even become promoted in some way. People use the power they have to do wrong and oppress others for their self-gain. Continuing on even today, some believe a woman is not equal to a man. Power has the ability to influence, anybody. Macbeth and Lord of the Flies both exemplified the abuses power has on people and what it can make them do. Power can lead to violence if it is not properly controlled. On top of that, the world’s power is still abused and misused strongly in work environments in unlawful ways.
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