How would you compose a feature article on the themes of Shakespeare's Macbeth, discussing the play's relevance to modern audiences?

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lentzk's profile pic

Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

In composing an article about the themes of Macbeth, I would definitely make their relevance to today's readers one of the focal points.   Most readers enter a text, especially one like a Shakespearean tragedy, with two major concerns:  1) 'Why does this matter to me?' and 2) 'How can I relate to it?'.

You could easily address both issues through the universal themes of Macbeth: ambition, guilt, the role of the supernatural.  All of these issues still pertain to today's readers, making a play like Macbeth timeless in its ability to speak to generations of audiences.  Macbeth examines the frailty of the human condition, particularly the human conscience and motivation; the psychology of the play addresses issues that most people have personal experience with today: moral dilemmas, difficult choices, social advancement, deceit and false appearances. 

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teachersage | (Level 2) Educator

Posted on

A feature article tends to be softer than a news article, offering background and color, not simply facts, so keep that in mind as you write.

A feature that makes the play's themes relevant for today would focus on problems the play addresses that remain problems in today's world. One important theme would be ambition. Shakespeare illustrates that ambition divorced from morality leads to disaster. People today are as ambitious as they were in Shakespeare's time. What in today's world would be similar to murdering a king to get ahead? Has too much ambition in a modern leader led to a downfall? An obvious choice to examine would be Hitler, but are there others?

Another theme the play explores is the attributes of a good ruler. Shakespeare argues that good leadership springs from moral virtue. Do we find examples of moral virtue in leaders today? Perhaps you could look at spiritual leaders like the pope and compare them to good leaders in Macbeth.

Finally, the play examines the folly of putting faith in superstitious utterances. Do leaders do that today? Nancy Reagan was said to use an astrologer to help guide her husband while he was president. Is that similar to trusting in witches?

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