Shakespeare and His Tyrants

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Do you know who any of these people are? Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Muammar al-Gaddafi or Osama Bin Laden? These men used their authority who exercised power oppressively or despotically. They are defined as tyrants. But even during William Shakespeare’s time there were similar men who terrorised countries. Shakespeare portrays tyrants so that they will always suffer the consequences for their terrible deeds. The most famous of his tyrants are Richard III and Macbeth. In his tragedy Macbeth the main character Macbeth was once a thane (a low-ranking nobleman) and a hero but a prophecy creates a powerful ambition within him for power which leads him to follow a dark path. He ascends the throne by murdering the king and also killed anyone who threatened to take him off the throne. His impending doom loomed over him when a man named Macduff fought Macbeth to avenge the death of his loved ones (who were killed under Macbeth’s order). Macbeth was beheaded in the fight. He was a doomed man at the start. He was prophesised to die at the hands of another man and this shows that tyrants will always suffer in the end.

In popular culture tyrants similar to Macbeth are portrayed in remakes of plays, films and video games. A tyrant who was similar is Ulfric Stormcloak from Bethesda Game Studio’s game Skyrim. Ulfric Stormcloak was a Jarl (a chieftain) of the former capital of Skyrim. After learning ancient powers, he abused the knowledge by murdering the High King to take the throne. A war is waged to stop Ulfric. In the end Ulfric Stormcloak is beheaded in a siege on his fortress. This is very similar to Macbeth’s story because both of them are misled by their ambition for power which supports that Shakespeare has influenced the tyrants of popular culture. Richard III in the play of the same name is depicted as being deformed, self-absorbed and wanting nothing more than to gain power. His split personality developed his character. However his undoing and death...
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