Is Macbeth relevant to young people today?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The destruction within ambition is one reason that Macbeth is relevant to younger people today.

There are many times when ambition can be seen as solely good.  Ambition is what fuels careers.  It aids in professional advancement.  Young people might perceive ambition as a necessity to start their paths towards happiness. Macbeth is a significant work for young people because it shows that excessive ambition contains darker elements.  For example, Lady Macbeth's insistence on her husband committing evil deeds shows the dangers within unlimited ambition.  The consequences of such choices are evident as Macbeth embraces greater moral depravity. The play becomes a study in what happens when there is no check on ambition.  Macbeth insists that individuals must develop an internal mechanism to limit such desire.

Young people could find this relevant.  In a sense, Macbeth is like a "young" person because he fails to see the darker side to his actions. On many occasion, young people cannot comprehend the full scope of their actions. In reading about Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, young people see how something originally seen as purely good can possess malevolent elements.  In this way, the need to fully reckon with the consequences of individual actions is how Macbeth can be relevant to young people today.