Paper Example: Comparison of themes from Macbeth and A Modest Proposal

Published: 2023-03-19
Paper Example: Comparison of themes from Macbeth and A Modest Proposal
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Violence Human behavior Macbeth Comparative literature
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 660 words
6 min read

One of the significant common themes about these two books is the abuse of power. In the Modest Proposal, the author, abuses power by proposing that poor children should be converted to "sound and useful members of the society." He suggests and supports the evil ideas of feeding poor, starving children, and selling them to landowners for them to eat. He has a notion that this will reduce the population of the poor and help relieve the country's burden of poverty. He takes advantage of his power to make adjustments to the Irish society regardless of the people's opinion on the matter. He supports his acts by stating the benefits that his proposal will encourage marriage and increase mothers' love for their children. He suggests that greed is a universal human trait and that the poor are not in a position to be greedy since they don't have power. He, on the other hand, believes he can restore Ireland to its former (noble).

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In Macbeth, the central theme is power, which leads Macbeth a Scottish General to commit devious acts. He's not being the kind of man that would murder anyone is corrupted and ends up killing many people in the quest for power. Macbeth kills King Duncan, encouraged by his wife, and orders Banquo to be murdered. He embarks on a hunt to find Malcolm, Duncan's son, who had fled. He was determined to kill everyone else who comes in his way and ends up stewing guilt and paranoia until his wife, Lady Macbeth, who was his greatest supporter, committed suicide after failing to withstand the repercussion of her acts (Birthplace, 2019).

Another theme is cruelty, which in Macbeth is evident in Lady Macbeth's behaviors. She is the brain behind all evil acts committed by her husband, Macbeth. She encourages him to murder the king and gives the guards drugged wine so that the action could be done. She relies on deception and manipulation rather than violence to achieve her ambitions. Also, Macbeth's act of cruelty is evident, where he seeks to find Malcolm, who was a threat to his throne. He knew that someone would inherit his throne through the witches' prophecy, but this made him more determined, and he ended up slaughtering the Macduff's family and Banquo.

In A Modest Proposal, Swift's cruelty is evident where he advocates for cannibalism. He proposes that children should be appropriately fed and sold to the rich to eat them. He talked about boiling babies and selling them for cold, hard cash. He argues that eating children's flesh will increase the exportation of beef and raise standards for other meat, which cannot be compared to a child's. In defense of the wealthy people, Swift reveals that his objectives are meant to solve the country's problems and cater to the rich. He goes ahead to look for suggestions on how to stew, roast, bake, and boil the children. He thinks that parents would prefer having money in exchange for their "whiny" children.

Unchecked ambition is another theme manifested in the book Macbeth. We see that Macbeth's downfall was brought about by his enthusiasm. It led him to commit several murders to achieve his intended goals. He became ambitious and obsessed with maintaining the power he had. He and Banquo hear the same prophesy by Banquo's humanity that made him make the right decision of not crossing lines to get to the top. Lady Macbeth's evil ambition also led her to make bad decisions for her husband and later led to her committing suicide. In A Modest Proposal, Swift shows how leaders can be greedy and despise the poor in society. The rich have the means to help the poor, but they don't and instead want to reduce their population.

Works Cited

Birthplace, S. (2019). Macbeth. [online] Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. Available at:

Barnes. "Sparknotes: A Modest Proposal." Sparknotes.Com, 2019,

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