Macbeth: A Relatable Tragedy

Perhaps one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays, Macbeth tells the tragic tale of King Macbeth, who falls from his heroic status after hearing a prophecy about his golden future.

Macbeth, a noble general of Scotland, is visited by three meddling witches, who prophesize that he will become Thane of Cawdor, and then King of Scotland. Currently, he is the Thane of Glamis, but after winning a war King Duncan awards him the title of Thane of Cawdor, and the first part of the prophecy comes true. This leads to Macbeth and his wife believing that the second part, therefore, must be true as well. In an impulsive act, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth (his wife) murder Duncan. After the king’s two sons flee in terror, Macbeth is crowned the new King of Scotland.

However, Macbeth is fearful of what he has done, and attempts to keep his status as king and prevent any possibilities of his own demise. Drowned in his own ambition, Macbeth’s morality begins to burn away as he commits crime after crime in an attempt to maintain his status as king and prevent anyone else from taking the throne. Eventually, his humanity and morality crumbles as he succumbs to his underlying guilt and burning ambition, and ultimately causes his own downfall.

In his play, Shakespeare warns us of the dangers of ambition, and how we must not submit to tantalizing offers and allow them to destroy us. We must not abandon our principles and our morals just to pursue something– nothing in the world is worth throwing away our souls. Macbeth isn’t omnipotent– armed with the prophecy and foresight, he thinks he is, and therefore he tries to control his fate, control what will happen– and all that results in is chaos. In murdering Duncan, he has essentially committed suicide. Perhaps he acted too fast– as natural was his ascension to the position of Thane of Cawdor, he seized the crown by himself; he did not permit it to happen in due time, which, if it did, may have prevented all this mayhem. 

As Stephen Fry recently said, “the enemy of knowledge is not ignorance; it is the illusion of knowledge.” We cannot believe that we know everything that’s going to happen, and hammer and twist the universe to fit our vision of the future. Shakespeare reminds us here that Macbeth, like the rest of us, is not God– and that we cannot try to control what we are not supposed to control.

 

 

Forrest Gump (1994)

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Forrest Gump is my all-time favorite movie, and one that I’ve watched countless times. It has brought me to tears and has made me laugh over and over again, and it never gets old with each reviewing.

In the present, Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) is waiting at the bus stop to ride to a particular destination. While sitting, various people join him, and he recounts his life story as they listen.

Unintelligent, and born needing leg braces, Forrest’s childhood is constantly hindered by people’s judgment. His mother goes to great lengths to give him a good education, and his only friend is a girl whom he meets on his first day of school and falls in love with, Jenny Curan (Robin Wright). One miraculous day, Forrest and Jenny are walking in the woods when three bullies give chase to Forrest; Jenny tells him to run and he does, resulting in his leg braces breaking, which allows him to sprint away.

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Forrest and Jenny stick together all throughout high school. Forrest is constantly badgered by the boys who pick on him, who now chase him in a truck. While running to evade the bullies, Forrest’s running skills catches the attention of a college football coach who happens to be nearby, scouting for players. Forrest then receives a football scholarship to the University of Alabama.

Meanwhile, Jenny also attends college at an all-girls university. She is eventually expelled for her troubles and Forrest goes on to graduate, and subsequently enlists in the military. There, he meets Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue. Shortly after their training, both are sent to fight in the Vietnam War. Forrest agrees to join Bubba and his family in the shrimping business after the war is over. However, in the midst of a fight, Bubba is killed. Forrest saves many men in his platoon, including Lieutenant Dan, who, afterwards, was furious at him for doing so; it was his destiny, he claimed, to die on the battlefield. Dan’s legs are amputated, and Forrest is awarded the Medal of Honor for his bravery.

While in recovery, Forrest discovers his talent in ping-pong and begins to play competitively, eventually becoming a celebrity and going on to play against the Chinese team.

At a Vietnam War-protest in D.C., Forrest reunites with Jenny, who has begun living life as a hippie, and has been doing her own travels. She then boards a bus, leaving Forrest behind once more. They continue their lives separately: Forrest enters into the shrimping business with Lieutenant Dan, while Jenny embraces the counterculture life.

It is revealed that Forrest is waiting for the bus to see Jenny. Once they reunite again, he meets her son, Forrest Jr., who is named after his father. Jenny proposes to Forrest and they marry, and she passes away a while later.

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My favorite scene from the movie was the hug between Forrest and Jenny in front of the Washington Monument– cheesy as it sounds, it brings me to tears every time. An inspirational, deeply moving and deeply thoughtful picture, Forrest Gump examines the aspects of love, hope, friendship, and warfare in life. Forrest encourages all of us to make the best out of life, and to each enjoy our own box of chocolates.You may not know what you’re going to get– but in the end, they’re all sweet.