The play Macbeth, a tragedy by William Shakespeare, is one of his most powerful and dark plays, exploring themes that evoke thought and still have meaning today. Shakespeare had a thorough understanding of society and human nature and explored deep universal ideas of human nature within his play. The themes in Macbeth of vaulting ambition, the nature of evil and self-inflicted isolation become relevant to contemporary society through their personal effect on humans emotion today and how people personally see society and human nature. In the same ways, the message of ‘your actions affect your future’ and the idea of the ‘great chain of being’ are relevant to contemporary society. Shakespeare’s use many literary techniques, including vivid characterisation, realism and symbolism engage the reader with these themes, messages and beliefs and their relevancy to society today.
There are many themes in Macbeth and Shakespeare’s use of various literary techniques engages the modern reader to personally connect to Macbeths themes. Ambition is a major theme in Macbeth. This theme relates to the ideas of ‘uncontrolled ambition without morals brings ruin.’ Macbeth is driven by a ‘vaulting ambition’ created by the prophecies of the witches that he will become king. He will do anything in his power to obtain this goal.
‘I have no spur
To prick the sides of my intent, but only
Vaulting ambition, which o 'erleaps itself,
And falls on th 'other. . . .’
Act 5, Scene 7
Here Shakespeare uses a metaphor for Macbeth as he explains that he has no ‘spur’ to kill King Duncan but ‘vaulting ambition’; a strong desire for power which leaps ...
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...s the themes and ideas are relevant to them. The question of how we cope in an ever changing world, as Macbeth and the people of Scotland did, is very relevant today as technology increasingly advances and global disasters increase. Lifestyles are dramatically changing and the ways in which the people of Macbeth’s time coped with their changing world can connect to readers experiencing change today.
The messages, ideas and themes of Macbeth are still very relevant today. Shakespeare’s incredible knowledge of literature, society’s function and his deep understanding of human nature make his characters so real and the messages, themes and ideas they express relate to all of humankind. Shakespeare explores universal question and ultimately the basic understanding of what people call humanity which is still relevant today and will be for the entire future of humankind.
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