Analysing Shakespeare is something that many high school students have to deal with. Last year, I was exposed to Romeo and Juliet, which I actually very much enjoyed (and watching Lurhmann’s ’96 movie definitely allowed me to appreciate it more). In fact, I do appreciate a bit of ‘Shakey S’: every second day I feel I say, “seen better days” or “method to his madness”, and I sincerely recognise the manner in which his way with words was ingenious. However, when I found out that we were reading Macbeth this semester, I wasn’t insanely keen. I guess stories of the Middle Ages and royalty never interested me, and so that paired with language that I have to struggle to comprehend didn’t seem, at first, a good idea.
That being said, I do appreciate many elements of it. When put into modern scenarios in my head, I could understand many elements. Perhaps to you fellow teenagers, this will allow you to be able to get something from it. And, so, today, I present to you (oh, and by the way, *spoiler alert*) my teenage guide to Macbeth. Here’s what I was able to relate to.
STAB, STAB, STAB. Macbeth, being the ambitious, power-hungry fella he is, of course kills his king so that he can reign over the kingdom. At high school, a very similar situation actually does occur. Just as Macbeth stabbed Duncan, so many teens hurt each other (or backSTAB if you like) to gain popularity. I know it all to well myself; a friend is no longer a friend for they ditch you to sit with the cool kids. I guess that’s what I got from Macbeth’s character. He wants to be popular, and so, he goes behind his true friends’ backs to get what he wants.
SOMETIMES WHEN PEOPLE TELL YOU TO JUMP OFF A CLIFF, YOU DO. Some say that Macbeth’s decisions were predominately influenced by Lady Macbeth telling him he was being a bit of a ‘pussy’ (as the teenage boys who sit in the back row in my homeroom would say) as well as by the ideas that those kooky witches put into his head. However, others argue that he was the one making all the choices; hence, he was completely to blame for his actions. I guess we can relate to this. How many times do we get told that by others what to do? And then it seems all too easy to blame those around us for the decisions we make. It’s fair enough, I guess. Peer pressure is all too real. But in the end, we are accountable.
MACBETH AND LADY MACBETH ARE NOT A POWER COUPLE. Their relationship is quite dysfunctional. Lady Macbeth treats her husband as if he is weak when he doesn’t want to murder someone—who cares if, I don’t know, he’s just a nice guy or something? Also, they both have a whole lot of blood on their hands. Ah well, Brangelina just broke up. Couldn’t get any more disappointment in the way of relationships than that.
DON’T BETRAY BFFS. For the part of Macbeth when he is alive, Banquo is everything a good friend needs to me. Keep these sorts of friends close, because you never know when they’re going to be stabbed by three murderers in the dark of the night. ★