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Comparing Washington and Macbeth: The Fate of a Nation

Essay by   •  December 29, 2010  •  Essay  •  484 Words (2 Pages)  •  1,225 Views

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George Washington and MacBeth were two historic figures who were

influential in determining the fate of their nation. Both were ambitious

men living during perilous times, yet each charted a different course for

himself and his country when faced with the lure of power. Washington

fulfilled his ambitions by devoting his life to creating a nation, while

MacBeth was ignorant his responsibilities to his country, in turn

destroying it and himself.

Throughout his whole life, Washington yearned for power. As a young

man, he wanted this power as a British officer. Later, as a Virginia

gentleman, he sought power in the forms of honor and wealth. His ultimate

rise to power eventually came when he was pronounced general of the

colonial militia in the war against Britain. It was under his command that

the colonial militia emerged victorious against the British. However, in

defeating the British another threat to American democracy had been

released. This threat was Washington himself. Washington had the colonial

militia under his control. He could have easily performed a "coup d'Ð"©tat"

and seized control of the newly freed nation. However, Washington's

ambitions were not to become a dictator, or king. He believed that power

did not come from controlling others, but from the honor and respect that

was given to him. Washington knew that this power would only come from

subordination to civilian authority. He would be a precedent by being the

first general to turn down his immense powers. With these actions,

Washington assured the success of a new democratic nation.

MacBeth, like Washington, was power hungry and very successful in war.

However, he felt that power came from wealth and control over his

subordinates.

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