The tragedy of Macbeth by William Shakespeare and recent historical events. Four hundred years ago, in 1606, William Shakespeare wrote one of his most famous playwrights The Tragedy of Macbeth. A master work that not only influenced literature, but also ha a serious impact on history, meaning, some historical characters can be described as having Macbethian traits.
In the following section, I will demonstrate why Macbeth can be considered a historical archetype by comparing his main traits with the Venezuelan caudillos main personality traits.
Both Macbeth and the Venezuelan caudillos are strongly ambitious characters that use any means to achieve their goal: power. For example, Macbeth, at the beginning of the play, considers killing King Duncan, so that the prophesy he has been told will become truth: ” Are less than horrible imaginings:/My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical” (Shakespeare, 81-82. Act I, Scene III). As for the caudillos, they profited every single opportunity to acquire power; like caudillo Juan Vicente Gmez (1908-1938) who profited General Cipriano’s journey to Europe to overthrow him and become the next governor of Venezuela.
This non limited ambition is accompanied by a cruelty of character that both Macbeth and the Venezuelan caudillos use to maintain the power they have acquired. Macbeth, and the caudillos, orders the murder of any person who threatens his new position as King of Scotland.
” Blood hath been shed ere now, i’ the olden time,
Ere human statue purged the gentle weal;
Ay, since too, murders have been perform’d
Too terrible for the ear: the times have been.”
(Shakespeare, 138-41. Act III, Scene IV)
Apart from killing their enemies, the Venezuelan caudillos used any means at their disposition to maintain their position as Venezuela’s governors. For example Liberal caudillo Guzmn removed all Conservative regional caudillos and put in their places loyal Liberal caudillos; or caudillo Juan Vicente Gmez who used military force and his secret police to eliminate his political foes.
It is their ruthless actions that win Macbeth and the caudillos the name of Tyrants. Macbeth is referred at the end of the play as Tyrant by different characters for the numerous murders he has ordered, as Malcolm states in this scene:
” Bleed, Bleed, poor country!
Great tyranny! Lay thou thy basis sure
For goodness dare not cheque thee: wear thou
(Shakespeare, 46-49. Act IV, Scene III)
On their part, caudillos were also referred as dictators for the oppressive way of governing Venezuela. Juan Vicente Gmez was also called the ” Tyrant of Andes” and General Cipriano Castro was considered by US a ” crazy brute”.
Macbeth and some caudillos were overthrow by a strongest army that defeated them. In Macbeth’s case, Malcolm becomes King of Scotland and he reinstates order, law, etc. While in Venezuela it wasn’t until Juan Vicente Gmez’s death that this period ended.
In conclusion, in this dissertation we can see that Macbeth is not only a literary character but also a character that exist and has existed in human history; thus converting Macbeth in the archetype of ambitious Tyrant.
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Works cited list
Shakespeare, William. The tragedy of Macbeth, 1606. The Complete Works of Shakespeare. Jeremy Hylton. 13 November 2002. http://www-tech. mit. edu/Shakespeare/macbeth/index. html
The century of Caudillismo, Venezuela History. Source U. S Library of Congress. http://countrystudies. us/venezuela/2. htm
Phillips, Brian and Douthat, Ross. SparkNote on Macbeth. 23 Feb. 2006 .