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Deception and Its Failure in the Search for Power

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Emma Ruder

Period 6

24 May 2011

Deception and its Failure in the Search for Power

From guerilla warfare during the American Revolution to strategic operations in World War II, deception plays an essential role in gaining power. Dishonesty is difficult to recognize, lending itself as an easy crutch for rulers who do not want to confront issues head-on or sees no other alternatives in battle or in achieving control. With deception comes the unreliable side in one's actions: one's thoughts and diffidence. Humans tend to over think or second guess their own actions. Unless the deceiver is fully confident in the plot, there is always the chance that the plan can backfire or not work out because trickery is not a concrete, true way in gaining power. Due to inconsistency and unpredictability, deception as a tool in gaining power does not insure permanent success, as shown in William Shakespeare's Macbeth and Hamlet.

In both plays, supernatural forces encourage the main character's actions as do tempters around them. In Macbeth, witches and his wife control his thoughts, and the thirst for power eventually drives him to insanity. The ghost of Hamlet's father similarly invokes action in Hamlet, but his hesitancy in attaining control leads to his insanity. More notably, these plays share parallels in the main character's use of deception to get what they want. Guided by the witches' tempting prophecies and his wife's greedy desires, Macbeth deceives those around him in his murderous plot to secure his position as king. Hamlet does not want kingship but uses



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