Macbeth and Personal Connections | Teen Ink

Macbeth and Personal Connections

July 21, 2021
By Huda SILVER, Jamaica, New York
Huda SILVER, Jamaica, New York
7 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious … and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." (Walt Disney)

Often in literature, authors and readers alike find that their personal lifestyle and positions in life can impact their perception of their readings. This is no different when reading Shakespeare. The fact that Shakespeare was written in the past where there were so many different limitations within society, like the subjugation of Africans, often makes Shakespeare’s written pieces more interesting and debatable, luring readers into a captivating universe of romance and murders. Although my reading was not majorly impacted by outside factors in my life, my reading of Macbeth was mostly impacted by my religion, Islam, and my age and gender.

Islam has had a slight impact on my reading and perception of Macbeth’s character. In the play, Macbeth is introduced as the Thane of Cawdor in the play and is prophesied by the Three Witches to eventually become King of Scotland. However, to achieve the goal of the prophecy, Macbeth ends up killing multiple characters, including Duncan the King of Scotland, Banquo, and even the eventual suicide of Lady Macbeth because both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s craze for power led to many murders and the guilt weighing heavy on her conscious led to the suicide of Lady Macbeth. In Islam, killing is not only frowned upon, but it is found so unhonorable to commit such crimes, like murders and theft, that criminals are whipped in public as punishment for crimes. Some even get their hands chopped off because their hands are considered impure for committing such a vial action. Macbeth committing so many murders, most without even a second thought, not only proves he is unhonorable but also shows that despite the many religious references in the play, like the soliloquy stated by the drunken porter following Duncan’ murder, Macbeth shows no signs of religious fear, which is quite ironic since Shakespeare referenced religion multiple times. Moreover, many people have compared Macbeth to religious stories, like the story of Adam and Eve, for example, because of the similarities of the characters. Eve is compared to Lady Macbeth, for instance, because both were easily convinced to pursue their desires by completing harmful, and forbidden actions. My religion has impacted my reading of Macbeth because it helped me to develop a negative perception of a man who has no fear of God and is unhonorable to desire so much power which is worthless compared to all the murders he has committed to gain and assure that he shall retain power as king.

My age and gender have also influenced my reading of Macbeth because they shaped my perception of Lady Macbeth’s character. In this era, it is taught in history classrooms everywhere that women have been subjugated for the majority of history, especially during the time of Macbeth. However, Shakespeare has constantly portrayed Lady Macbeth as a strong woman that has influence and power and is also very clever, which is the exact opposite of the ideology of the time when Macbeth was first released. Today’s mindset has shaped my perception of Lady Macbeth because whereas back then women were portrayed as weak, powerless, and obedient, women today are known as those who struggle and will go to any extent to gain their freedom and rights, which helps the reader to understand that Lady Macbeth plays a very strong and important character in Macbeth because her cleverness will influence and manipulate Macbeth into committing heinous crimes to gain power. While I will also support this claim by using my gender as a factor, I believe that Lady Macbeth’s character is also viewed with a negative perception because Shakespeare describes Lady Macbeth as a sneaky, clever, and manipulative villain of sorts, someone that negatively influences the main character and the whole plot.  "Look like th' innocent flower, But be the serpent under 't" (Shakespeare, 1.5. 56-58). This negatively influences the reader's perception of Lady Macbeth and shows how women at that time were considered evil and sneaky when given too much freedom, so they should be kept under the control of men and should have no say in any issues not regarding their household. In this way, my age and gender have influenced my reading of Macbeth and more specifically, the character of Lady Macbeth.

Readers’ life factors often find a way to influence a reader’s understanding of a story or play. Oftentimes, the reader will find that their personal life has an influence on their perception of a character, how valuable they are, and how much that character influences a play. My own personal reading of Macbeth was influenced by my religion, age, and gender because those factors changed how much I value the characters in Macbeth and how they’ve influenced the play overall.

The author's comments:

Shakespeare's Macbeth explores the intricate themes of love, power, and death to create a literary masterpiece that has been acclaimed by critics worldwide. However, every reader perceives this work differently based on their personal experience and/or background. Here's my take on how my background shaped my perspective.

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