‘Although Macbeth was written more than 400 years ago, it is still worth studying today because of its timeless themes, exciting plot, strong characters and vivid language.’
William Shakespeare's works have been around for more than 400 years, and even though his words may be old, they are still works of literary art that have aided the study of English students around the globe. An example of a play would be the infamous Macbeth that uses timeless themes, a climatic storyline, in depth characters and the poetic use of the English language to captivate his audience both in the past and present times alike.
Macbeth is worth studying today as the play analyses how other outside forces can easily change the path of ones desires and decisions. The witches’ intrusion, Lady Macbeth’s decisions all affect Macbeth greatly. He goes from being praised as a noble soldier to a traitor and corrupt king. In the play, Macbeth commits many terrible crimes, however he is not solely responsible for them all. These outside factors manipulate his decisions and are responsible for his downfall at the end. Much alike in the present, the many hardships and adversity faced by those can change the choices and aspirations we hope for revealing the timeless themes within the play.
There are many other timeless themes evident as the play portrays the idea of blind ambition, corruption of power and the deceiving appearances depicted by the characters. The corrupting power of unconstrained ambition causes Macbeth to brutally murder Duncan against his judgement and afterward stew in remorse and distrust as ‘every noise appals’ him. Although, once Macbeth had the taste of power, he was willing to kill anyone and everyone including the ‘young fry of treachery,’ who was Malcolm’s son. Macbeth also put his own desires before the good of Scotland, and in the end, is destroyed by his ambition revealing that power and glory often leaves one in devastation.
Shakespeare also manages to demonstrate the classic battle between good versus evil through Macbeth and his actions. The idea of good versus evil corresponds with the theme of power corruption, as people such as Macbeth want more power and money causing them to become greedy as they are influenced by something. Although, without the admirable qualities that the characters in the play reveal, their corruption would not evoke empathy.
The characters in the play are also important key factors that enhance the story. Macbeth who was widely named ‘noble Macbeth’ was admired by all, descended into a kind of frantic, boastful madness towards the end of the play. Lady Macbeth on the other hand, pursues her goals with greater determination, yet she is less capable of withstanding the effects of her immoral acts. She spurs her husband ruthlessly to kill Duncan and urges him to be strong in the murder’s repercussion, but she is eventually driven to disturbance by the effect of Macbeth’s repeated bloodshed on her conscience. In each case, ambition is what drives the couple to even more terrible atrocities. The play suggests that once one decides to use violence to further one’s quest for power, it is difficult to stop. There are always potential threats to the throne and it is always tempting to use violent means to dispose of them.
The use of language within Macbeth is also extraordinarily used creating a gradual tension from the moment King Duncan in murdered. The reader is kept in suspense from the beginning of the play until the final scene through the supernatural elements and the sense of indecision, and the art of using the language in the right place and time gives live to the characters.
The use of words and sounds are focused on creating a strong impact on the reader, by producing images and by strategically place of the words for a maximum effect. This is shown in an image of chaos in the external conflict of the nature of Macbeth’s guilt; ‘dark night strangles the traveling lamp.’ The strong imagery is created by the stimulation of various senses, with a vivid description of a taste, an odor or a sound, and created the feeling that we are actually there. It is a technique used especially to highlight the intense conflicts in Act 2.
There are many more reasons as to why Macbeth is still worth studying today. Even though Macbeth was written by William Shakespeare more than 400 years ago it is the work of literary art that has aided the study of English students by using timeless themes, a climatic storyline, in depth characters and the poetic use of the English language to captivate his audience both in the past and present alike.