“Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
If you had the chance to seize great power for yourself and your family, what lengths would you go to to claim it as your own – and how would you live with yourself if you went against morality to do it? This is the question of Macbeth, a tragedy about seeking political gain above all else, and the consequences sacrificing one’s humanity for the sake of power.
Macbeth is a general for Scotland who has been prophesied to be the future King of Scotland. Rather than wait for this prophecy to take hold of its own accord, and after taking the advice of his power-hungry wife, he murders the current king and takes his place. But it doesn’t take long for tremendous guilt and fear to take hold of him, and turn his reign into one of tyranny and brutality as he and Lady Macbeth commit more and more crimes to avoid the consequences coming for them. As Macbeth’s streak of brutality and war continues, he believes himself to be invulnerable, which ultimately leads to his downfall.
Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s well-known tragedies, and despite superstitions about it being “cursed,” is still often performed and presented for audiences in the modern era.