Shakespeare and His Tyrants Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:24:05
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Category: Macbeth

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Do you know who any of these people are? Adolf Hitler, Saddam Hussein, Muammar al-Gaddafi or Osama Bin Laden? These men used their authority who exercised power oppressively or despotically. They are defined as tyrants. But even during William Shakespeares time there were similar men who terrorised countries. Shakespeare portrays tyrants so that they will always suffer the consequences for their terrible deeds. The most famous of his tyrants are Richard III and Macbeth. In his tragedy Macbeth the main character Macbeth was once a thane (a low-ranking nobleman) and a hero but a prophecy creates a powerful ambition within him for power which leads him to follow a dark path. He ascends the throne by murdering the king and also killed anyone who threatened to take him off the throne. His impending doom loomed over him when a man named Macduff fought Macbeth to avenge the death of his loved ones (who were killed under Macbeths order). Macbeth was beheaded in the fight. He was a doomed man at the start. He was prophesised to die at the hands of another man and this shows that tyrants will always suffer in the end.

In popular culture tyrants similar to Macbeth are portrayed in remakes of plays, films and video games. A tyrant who was similar is Ulfric Stormcloak from Bethesda Game Studios game Skyrim. Ulfric Stormcloak was a Jarl (a chieftain) of the former capital of Skyrim. After learning ancient powers, he abused the knowledge by murdering the High King to take the throne. A war is waged to stop Ulfric. In the end Ulfric Stormcloak is beheaded in a siege on his fortress. This is very similar to Macbeths story because both of them are misled by their ambition for power which supports that Shakespeare has influenced the tyrants of popular culture. Richard III in the play of the same name is depicted as being deformed, self-absorbed and wanting nothing more than to gain power. His split personality developed his character. However his undoing and death occurred during a final duel with Richmond (later known as Henry VII of England) at the Battle of Bosworth Field.

A tyrant comparable to Richard III is Queen Clementianna in the Snow White remake Mirror Mirror. The Queen is a very beautiful woman but she was narcissistic and cruel to her people. She believed that she was the rightful ruler of the land and orders the murder of Snow White (her step-daughter) which ultimately fails. The Queen talks in her spare time with her own mind (which is the mirror) except it is a much more wiser and younger version of herself. In the end she is foiled by Snow White and suffers her consequences for using dark powers against the King. She is transformed into a witch-like figure and Snow White rescues her long-lost father. Both of these tyrannical people are alike as they are both self-absorbed and deformed in many ways. They never have their happily ever after ending, lose their titles and are hushed away or killed (in Richard IIIs case). This shows that tyrants always pay for their crimes.

Unfortunately a small number of tyrants never suffer for the atrocious acts that they commit. This is outrageous as the wicked and selfish men and women of our society should suffer for their crimes. Shakespeares influence ranges from many popular topics such as love and violence but his portrayal of tyrants is cunningly similar to those of modern day culture. Would he have known that his view on tyrants was never going to change throughout the course of history? Who knows? But we will always know that tyrants were similar in both eras. Being a tyrant will lead to their own demise.

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