Similar Themes In Shakespears Works

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All of Shakespeare's works are thematically similar. In each play, the social order, according to Shakespeare and the world he lives in, prevailed. Every character type in Shakespeare's works is put in their proper place by the end of the story. No one is left unaccountable for his or her actions, and no one who deserves honor goes unheralded.

In Henry V there are two distinct leaders. The first leader is the brave and honorable King Henry, and the second is the haughty and weak Prince Dolphin. According to society of Shakespeare's time, a virtuous leader was one who fought courageously and with honor. He was a man of faith and noble cause. Shakespeare portrays Henry and a man who possesses all of these wonderful leadership qualities. He also portrays the Prince Dolphin as a weak leader. The Prince is arrogant and foolishly sends Henry an insulting joke. As a result of Dolphin's distasteful joke, Henry attacks France and gathers the crown of both England and France.

Clearly, order prevails in this story. The strong leader of England gains everything he sets out to win, and the poor leader of France loses all he has to the better English man.

Shakespeare's play Macbeth also follows a similar theme of order as that found in Henry V. Again there is a character, Macbeth, who is put into a position of leading, but this time other factors come into play. In the beginning of the play Macbeth is an honorable nobleman, but after an encounter with evil witches, Macbeth is changed. Following this event Macbeth neglects to uphold good leadership qualities. He allows human ambition and evil to get in the way of being a good leader. As a result the countries' sovereignty and prosperity diminishes. The only way to bring order back to the land is to dethrone Macbeth. When Macbeth is killed, Malcomb becomes King of Scotland and again Shakespeare maintains order. Macbeth becomes involved with evil and is completely controlled by his ambition. He acts in ways that are not indicative of good kingship, thus he is removed from the throne. Also, Macbeth committed murder to become king, so he himself is killed.

During Twelfth Night characters step out of their social positions, for one reason or another, and this creates comical chaos. For example, one of the main characters, Viola, is dressed like a man in order to protect herself and find her brother. Yet, her deceptive cross-dressing plays havoc with the emotions of Olivia and Sir Andrew and causes her to hide her love for the Duke. While all this is transpiring, a servant of Olivia's, Malvolio, decides to assume a false nobility. Malvolio is arrogant to others, and as a result Sir Toby, Sir Andrew, Maria, and the Clown play a trick on him. They convince him that Olivia loves him and wants him to dress in wild clothes and act haughty. In the end, both Viola and Malvolio are put back in their place. Viola's brother, Sebastian, returns and marries Olivia. Viola reveals her femininity and love to the Duke, and they marry. Meanwhile, Malvolio ends up making a fool of himself in front of Olivia, and those, not in on the joke, think he is crazy. Shakespeare restores the social order in this play by returning the characters in their proper social place. When Viola dresses like a man there is chaos, but when she looks and acts like as a "proper" women everyone is happy. Malvolio acts above his social position, so he is humbled by humiliation.

In all of Shakespeare's works he shows that chaos is created when the proper social order of things is destroyed. The resolution to chaos is then to return things and people to their proper place. It is Shakespeare's belief that each person has a specific place in life, and try as one may, each person will always return to his proper place. It is because each person has his or her place that there is order in society.