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In English

Portale di risorse gratuite per chi insegna e chi studia la lingua inglese

Uno sguardo sul mondo anglofono, registrazioni audio, video, esercizi linguistici e di comprensione.

Macbeth in the modern world

<em>Macbeth</em> in the modern world

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is perhaps the most exciting and accessible of all his tragedies, with its blood-and-thunder theme, battles, the supernatural, greed for power and madness. Written in 1606, it tells the story of an 11th century Scottish lord who is consumed with ambition to become king at any price. We can find echoes of Macbeth in the modern world, of course. Read the news and look around at the present state of the world. How many Macbeths can you find, exercising dictatorial powers? And how did many of them get there?
This year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. He is widely regarded not only as the greatest writer in the English language, but perhaps the greatest in any language. The words he uses can be difficult at times – after all, they are 400 years old! – but the themes he explores are as modern now as they were then. This is the secret of the genius of Shakespeare.
Most of his plays have been filmed many times, since the silent movies right up to today. Macbeth was first filmed by Hollywood in 1908 on a studio set. Roman Polanski made a very successful version of it in 1971, and the latest one, starring Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard, has just been released. Both of these used locations in England and Scotland very successfully. An Australian version of 2006 updated the play and gave it a gangland setting, where Mr and Mrs Macbeth plan to become the leaders of the most important gang in the Melbourne underworld. If you know the play, you know that all these ambitions ended badly.
Watching a film of Macbeth, or indeed a film of any of Shakespeare’s plays, is a perfect introduction to the Bard of Avon, as he is often called, after the river that runs through his hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon. Probably you won’t understand every word but that doesn’t matter. You will certainly understand the message. One more thing. Remember a famous saying, this time not by Shakespeare: “power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

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