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What we may learn from a tragedy

We can extract several messages from Shakespeare's Macbeth. The play is a tragedy, and therefore we know from the start that this will end badly. In this way, the play is instructive about how we should go about certain things in life, such as our own ambition or ability to recognise our own faults. In the paragraphs below, we outline some of these instructions, or messages.

It should perhaps be added that Shakespeare obviously sought to entertain as well as educate his audience. The fact that his plays do both at the same time adds to their popularity.

Power corrupts

You may know the saying that “power corrupts, but absolute power corrupts absolutely”. This fits well with Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Macbeth starts out as a loyal thane, but this position is not enough for him. On the contrary, it only seems to have sparked his ambition for more. When he gets the chance, he seizes absolute power and becomes King of Scotland. The problem is that he did not earn the crown the right way, and this starts eating away at his conscience until he imagines seeing floating daggers and the ghost of Banquo.

After the murder of loyal Banquo, people around Macbeth start questioning his right as well as ability to rule, which provokes him into further paranoia and a spiral of violence and...

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