What Are the Four Common Themes in Shakespeare’s Writings?
If I tell you the story of Macbeth does that answer the question? The fact is that it’s about many things. Some of them are ambition, what it means to be a man, conflict, corruption, transformation, order and disorder, loyalty, appearance and reality, guilt, sin and retribution, good and evil, and many more. It doesn’t matter how many times you read or see the play, every time you do you will find things in it that you didn’t see before. (In fact we’ve had a go at writing up the key macbeth themes here.) The same is true of all Shakespeare’s plays.
The basic conceptualization of most of Shakespeare’s tragedies is probably based on Aristotle’s tragedies. While doing ancient Greek theatre in school, I learnt that even the Greek theatre had conventions of a tragedy, with a hero who is flawed, ambitious and thus leads to his downfall making him a tragic protagonist. The line between good and evil is blurred somewhere by Shakespeare’s heroes and at that point the divine hero becomes a mortal man, with capability of innate evil and ambition that creates evil. The play has many themes- deception, greed, appearance, reality, predestination, free will, good, evil and the supernatural being many of them. These themes make the portrayal of the story very interesting and make its film adaptations very effective as well. Also, the play has various other implications of patriotism and contemporary history, which can also be implied to the movies of the different cultures and directors. The setting also is important in the adaptations for making the story effective enough as it adds to the cultural connotations of the movie. For example, the director of every Macbeth adaptation looks at the place, the locale, the castle of Macbeth, the witches’ lair and all other exquisite details.
In addition, Gloucester overlooks his responsibilities as a father by expelling one of his sons on grounds of disloyalty and dishonesty (Archer, Turley, and Thomas 521).
Unfortunately, Shakespeare isn’t alive and we really cannot find out all of this information about him.
Archer, Jayne, Richard Turley, and Howard Thomas. “The Autumn King: Remembering the Land in King Lear.” Shakespeare Quarterly 63.4 (2012): 518-543. Print.
Edmiston, Brian, and Amy McKibben. “Shakespeare, rehearsal approaches, and dramatic inquiry: Literacy education for life.” English in Education 45.1 (2011): 86-101. Print.
Woodford, Donna. Understanding King Lear: A student casebook to issues, sources, and historical documents. Santa Barbara: Greenwood Publishing, 2004. Print.