Macbeth Is Still Acted And Read Today

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorHigh School, 12th grade June 2001

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Why is Macbeth, by William Shakespeare still acted and read today? Although it was written over four hundred years ago, Macbeth can be interpreted in such a way that it is still relevant today. Macbeth's ambition and guilt is something that we can relate to. King Duncan represents a powerful politician. Most importantly however, is that Macbeth helps us to realise that there is a little bit of evil in all of us.

The words have remained the same but the meaning of the play has changed over the last four hundred years. Four hundred years ago the audience would have actually believed in witches and supernatural powers. Today however, an audience of today sees the witches as a figment of Macbeth's imagination or perhaps his conscience. People of any time tend to want to relate to the play. Macbeth is still acted and read today because it allows room for different interpretations.

A feature of Macbeth is that most people can relate to is his ambition and his guilt. Macbeth's ambition shows when he meets the witches. "Stay, you imperfect speakers! Tell me more!" In this scene, Macbeth is proven to be only human as his ambition seeps through shattering the flawless image that the viewer had of him. The viewer can now relate to him as neither of them is flawless. It is Macbeth's ambition however, that leads Macbeth to commit an act that he later regrets and feels sorry for. "He's here in double trust: First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murder shut the door, Not bear the knife myself." Macbeth is overcome by guilt even before he murders Duncan. When Macbeth finds that he cannot pray or sleep, this is another sign of his guilt as well as his self-punishment. Macbeth shows us that not everyone is perfect. He shows that people who may seem perfect on the outside have a darker side if you look deep enough. Today's viewers can relate to this.

In today's context, Duncan is no longer seen as a king. He is seen as a powerful figure who has a lot of influence on people. "Had I but died an hour before this chance, I had lived a blessed time." Macbeth lies when he is told of Duncan's death. Like any politician of today, Duncan was stabbed in the back. It is Duncan's power that leads him to his death. It is this same power that causes a politician to be ridiculed and attacked. Politics is a very important part of life in today's society and the assassination of a politician, (although not tragic), would cause a significant impact on society.

Most importantly however, Macbeth teaches the viewer that there is a little bit of evil in us all. As the "Brave and valiant Macbeth- well does he deserve that name" turns out to be a "Dwarf like figure in borrowed robes." The seemingly heroic Macbeth turns out to be a vicious murderer. Macbeth supports the theory of today's society to be aware of other people.

Macbeth is still acted and today because of its relevance in today's society as well as its historic content. The themes of the play are directly linked to issues faced by today's society including ambition and guilt and the little bit of evil in us all.