Macbeth the Development and Availability Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

/ He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear / His hopes 'bove wisdom, grace, and fear. / And you all know security / Is mortals' chiefest enemy." (Act III, Scene 5).

True to the prophesy of the above words, Macbeth destroys both his security and power by succumbing to the illusion of security. The appearance of extreme wealth and power blinds him to the true danger around him and to the false promises of the witches. In this way the play acts as a warning for the audience: wealth and power are likely to bring more grief and danger than they are worth. They also destroy any meaningful connection that might exist between the human being and the divine.

In modern-day works of art, the same warning is issued, although in a more light-hearted, redeeming fashion. Furthermore, material wealth and the divine come closer to each other than in Shakespeare's play, suggesting a new paradigm of wealth and its relationship to divinity. Aristotle's assertion in terms of modern humankind may therefore hold less truth than may have been the case for the average Shakespearean audience.

The main difference is in the distribution and specific manifestations of wealth. Currently, more people are wealthier than has ever been the case before, mostly thanks to technology and development. Current art forms therefore have to cater for the new paradigms of wealth and spirituality. As such, modern art is generally more complex than the fairly simple plots of plays such as Shakespeare's Macbeth.

In "Bruce Almighty" for example, the main character is unhappy when his material comfort and wealth are removed. In response to his challenge, God provides Bruce with the opportunity to function as God. Like Macbeth, Bruce throws all caution to the wind and enjoys his newfound power. He uses this to regain his position as anchor at a television station, to romance his girlfriend, and to housetrain his dog. The inherent lesson in the film is however not that these things will provide true happiness, but that meaning in life is found through the connection of the human heart. In this way, divinity is brought in direct contact with humanity. Bruce learns that he can make neither himself nor his girlfriend happy by personal material gain, but rather by displaying a transcendent propensity for love and inherent humanity.

The same lesson is demonstrated by "The Grinch." Jim Carey's character in this film is ostracized from humanity because of his looks. He lives a life of grumpy unhappiness, which he has become comfortable with and learned to almost enjoy. This life, separated and cold as it is, is demonstrated as a kind of hell. The Grinch is rescued from this existence by the persistent visits of a little girl. Despite his resistance, the girl befriends the Grinch and teaches him the "true meaning" of Christmas. The film demonstrates this true meaning to lie in togetherness, friendship, and generosity, rather than a purely divine paradigm.

While spirituality takes a different form in the modern-day world than in Shakespeare's time, there is still the separation of pure materialism from the higher, inherently human values. These formless values, rather than a God form, are placed at the level of divinity to serve as the opposite of materialism in current forms of art.

Songs such as "Stairway to Heaven" also emphasizes the separation of spirituality from materialism. Material wealth, according to the song, cannot build a stairway to heaven, whatever "heaven" might signify for the audience. The concept of heaven in the modern world has taken on several meanings. For many fundamentally religious persons, this is still the post-mortem reward for a worthy life on earth. For others, however, it means peace, love, or inner happiness that transcends the material wealth of the world. Despite these evolutions, Aristotle's words remain true: material wealth and spiritual well-being remain mutually exclusive paradigms.

Sources

Howard, Ron. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." 2000. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0170016/

Led Zeppelin. "Stairway to Heaven" Lyrics available online: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/l/led+zeppelin/stairway+to+heaven_20082076.html

Shadyac, Tom. "Bruce Almighty." 2003. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0315327/

Shakespeare, William. "Macbeth." 1602. Available online at http://www.william-shakespeare.info/script-text-macbeth.htm

Sources Used in Document:

Sources

Howard, Ron. "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." 2000. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0170016/

Led Zeppelin. "Stairway to Heaven" Lyrics available online: http://www.lyricsfreak.com/l/led+zeppelin/stairway+to+heaven_20082076.html

Shadyac, Tom. "Bruce Almighty." 2003. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0315327/

Shakespeare, William. "Macbeth." 1602. Available online at http://www.william-shakespeare.info/script-text-macbeth.htm

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