Universal Truths Found In Macbeth

Essay by nickcappyJunior High, 9th gradeA+, May 2004

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Macbeth Universal Truths Essay

William Shakespeare's plays are written with bold thought, constant action and beautiful words. The thing that I feel is most important about Shakespeare's writing, and Macbeth in particular, is that there is much more meaning than there appears on the surface. The words themselves are not what is important, it is in the subtext where you find the real story. After reading Macbeth I learned that Shakespeare says many things beneath the surface of his writing. Some are subtle and some are not. Shakespeare often implies universal truths through his work. I have chosen three of these truths. First, people want what they cannot have. Second, people regret their actions. Third, people can be easily tricked or persuaded.

In Macbeth, Shakespeare reminds us that man cannot always have what he wants. There are many examples of this found in the text. For example, Macbeth wants the crown but inevitably he can't have it.

He pushes and pushes to become king but it obviously wasn't meant to be. Another example from the text that reminds us that people can't have everything they want is found through Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth wants Macbeth to commit a murder so that she can have more power. But, Macbeth cannot do it. In the end he does commit the murder but he then falls into a downward spiral of guilt. I understand this all too well myself. I am desperate for a television but, I know that I can't have one. Darn!! This also relates to society and people in general. Most people want world peace but it seems beyond our grasp. It would take 191 countries and 6,200,000,000 people to reach an agreement and live in harmony. We all want this but, from a practical standpoint, it is impossible.

Another thing that Shakespeare implies in his writing of Macbeth is that people regret their actions. This was true for both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. In Macbeth's case, he becomes consumed with guilt after killing the king, Banquo and Duncan's family. The guilt eventually brings him down. I, too, have regretted many of my actions, one of which was when I said something really mean to my mother. When I saw how much it hurt her, I regretted it. Regret is also found in society. Many people will go out and buy a top-of-the-line product. But, the next day they find out that a new, better, cooler, and cheaper one has just come out. People regret buying things when that happens, especially when they bought something on impulse.

The last truth from Macbeth that I want to discuss relates to the text, society and myself. It is the idea that people are very easily tricked or persuaded. In the text this is obviously shown through the character of Macbeth. First he believes the weird sister. Who believes masculine, raggedy-dressed, poor, ugly women that you met on the street? Macbeth's manipulative wife persuaded him to commit the murders of Duncan's family, Banquo and the king. This truth also relates to me in many ways. At some point last year I was persuaded by a group of people to steal tests from school and take them home. Now I realize that this was not a smart thing to do but I had let myself be duped into doing it just the same. Finally this hint from Shakespeare is even shown in the people of our world. All people can be manipulated or tricked in some ways but what I have noticed often is that a confident, well-voiced politician will almost always get the votes. It is unbelievable how many of the speeches are written by someone else but then spoken by a well-voiced politician that doesn't know what he is saying but yet he still ends up winning.

It is true. Shakespeare was right. People, Macbeth, and I all want what they can't have. We are easily tricked or persuaded. We often regret many of our actions. Shakespeare's writing is beautiful on the surface but underneath it is even more profound and meaningful.