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Why Is Macbeth Is Still Relevant in Today’s Society

In: English and Literature

Submitted By oliviacathryn
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Why is Macbeth is still relevant in today’s society? Is it not time we found something new? It’s been over 400 years, keep up people.

Shakespeare’s plays are still relevant today; they explore the humanity in people. Macbeth was a greedy, jealous and unhappy with his life. He was extremely susceptible to pressure. Shakespeare managed to accurately depict many truths about the human race; many in modern society fit the profile of Macbeth in one sense or another, partly because human nature hasn’t changed a great deal since the Elizabethan era. Themes such as guilt, shame, anxiety, paranoia, trauma, mental illness, psychological vulnerability, envy, inferiority, manipulation, greed and murder are still relevant in the 21st century.
Macbeth desired and in the end achieved the title of King of Scotland, but not without sacrifice. Not only did Macbeth desire the king’s title, but his wife Lady Macbeth also wished to be queen, mounting pressure upon him drove him towards darkness. Macbeth became exceedingly jealous towards Duncan. In Macbeth’s eyes he had everything he wanted including happiness. Duncan was the king Macbeth desired to be. With Duncan in the way Macbeth’s desires were unattainable. Macbeth was ambitious, but with the influences of the three witches and his power hungry wife he became greedy and thoughtless. Realising his dreams could easily become reality, with encouragement from his wife, Macbeth plotted against King Duncan, ruthlessly murdering him whilst in lay in slumber, thus allowing him to take his place as King of Scotland.
Macbeth was distraught at the thought of murdering Duncan, leading to him nearly aborting the crime, but with persuasion from his wife, he continued and carried out the deed. However the murder of Duncan took its toll on Lady Macbeth, forcing her to take her own life, leaving Macbeth alone. He fluctuates between moments of fevered action, as for when he plots a series of cunning attacks to secure his place on the throne. Followed by moments of intense guilt, as for when Banqo’s ghost appears. These fluctuations reflect the catastrophic emotional strain Macbeth is under, too ambitious to stop murdering and too conscientious to live with the guilt of murder. As his life begins to fall apart, Macbeth almost seems relived.
Despite losing hope, Macbeth, unlike many of Shakespeare’s other characters never contemplated suicide “Why should I play the Roman fool, and die on my own sword?” He died like he began, fighting on the battlefield.
He paid a high price for his title as King; he not only lost the respect of his people after finding out about the atrocious act of murder Macbeth had committed against their former king, Duncan, but he lost his life. Guilt and sorrow consumed him, thus forbidding him to truly relish his time as king.
One of many, who fit the modern day Macbeth persona, is Tonya Harding, a figure skater who aspired to be the unsurpassed skater in America. However one obstacle remained, Nancy Kerrigan, who at the time was favoured to win the 1994 U.S Figure Skating Championships, that was until Harding and her ex-husband Jeff Gillooly conspired to attack Kerrigan. The attack forced her to withdraw from the 1994 Championships. Like Macbeth, Tonya’s judgement was clouded by greed, jealously and resentment, believing all of her aspirations to be slowly fading, at the fault of Kerrigan.
Failure was not an option; she had family, friends and a coach counting on her, these pressures mounting upon her much like the pressures laid upon Macbeth, could have pushed her over the edge forcing her to commit such despicable acts. She still struggles with the loss of friendship and respect lost that day.
Despite the Macbeth character being over 400 years old, its relevance is more prevalent now more than ever, as there is not a single person in today’s society fits Macbeth’s persona in one way or another. Everyone has at least once in their life has been filled with jealously or greed, everybody has hopes and dreams they wish to fulfil, however they undoubtedly would not to the extremes in which Macbeth went to.

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