Introduction – William Shakespearean Elizabethan Tragedy Macbeth and A Simple Plan by Sam Ram are surprisingly similar. The two tragedies illustrate two contented ordinary men, whose lives are irrevocably altered for the worse because the timely values of power, greed and desire for position. Macbeth and A Simple Plan delve into the idea of the obsessive urge to be In a position of power which causes them to lose their ability to discern truth from illusion.
Shakespeare and Ram explore the consequences of this ambition, both physical and emotional. Ramie explores the idea of how individuals trivet to create a life of prosperity through work or less honorable means, contrastingly Shakespeare highlights the Kings rightful position to be born as Gods representative on Earth and doesn’t have to work for this position. Paragraph 1 on social change – 1. The concept of the modern American Dream and the accepted means to achieve it Is paralleled to Macbeth In its reference Into the Great Chain of Being.
Within both texts when the mall characters ablest to discern truth from illusion Is Inhibited due to a world of destruction and chaos, they take unnatural means to achieve their idea of success. Society order is disrupted because of the individual’s obsessive urge to obtain position and power. In Shakespearean Macbeth after King Duncan has been killed Macbeth say What hands are here? Hal They pluck out mine eyes’.
This exhibits how Macbeth has lost his ability to discern what is truth and illusion due to his killing throwing his world into chaos and destruction. Within Macbeth he achieves ultimate power and position through regicide similarly A Simple Plan Hank achieves one of the American Dream’s attributes, money. Through Illicit means. Within the American society, in which a Simple Plan is set; it identifies how individuals can ruse their ambitions as long as their actions do not impinge on anybody else. Hanks ambition has disastrous consequences for his community.
Both Ram and Shakespeare employ the use of murder In the plot for their main characters to achieve their goals through unnatural means and throw the world in chaos and deception which forces the characters ability to discern to be inhibited. This is effective because it demonstrates how although the contexts are shifted and the goal that both men are trying to achieve changes, the value of achieving power through unnatural means to achieve the goal stays present. . Machete’s value of power throws his world into chaos and deception which temporarily causes him to lose his sense of discernment between truth and illusion.
This is exemplified within Act 4 Scene 3 “Not in the legions. Of horrid hell can come a devil more damned. In evils to top Macbeth” where Shakespeare outlines the qualities of a good and bad king. This scene demonstrates how when the Great Chain of Being is disrupted chaos prevails and Macbeth is bound to be a bad king. The line “Nothing is, but what is not” Act 1 Scene 2 Is ambiguous and indicates the confusion between the world Macbeth thinks f as real and the world of dreams, which highlights how Macbeth has lost his sense of discernment between truth and illusion.
Despite all the murders and manipulation to gain illicit power in the end nothing comes to anything because the Great Chain of I OFF and eventually results in nothing but his own death and suffering “tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps in this petty pace from day to day’ Act 5 Scene 5. The same is said of Hank when he has finally has full possession of the money and power, all his family and friends are dead, the money has to be destroyed which results in nothing but his own misery and guilt.
Ram uses a close-up shot of money burning to symbolism that all Hank worked illicitly for and killed for was futile. The power that we saw Hank gain was lost through the burning of the money, the money being a symbol of power. In both contexts there world becomes a place of chaos and deception and both characters lose their ability to discern truth from illusion because of their obsessive urges to power and position. Paragraph 2 on cultural change – 1. A change in cultural context affects what attributes people value as the most important. The obsessive urge for position and power is the overriding value within
Macbeth and wealth isn’t an essential factor because the Great Chain of Being produced the class system in Elizabethan times and decided a person’s wealth. There is no natural way, other than through inheritance, to climb up the social hierarchy in Elizabethan times therefore Machete’s way of reaching the top of the social hierarchy was inherently wrong within Elizabethan culture. Shakespeare foreshadows the calamitous inseparability of Macbeth and forces of darkness because Macbeth first words ‘so foul and fair a day I have not seen’ echoes the words of the witches, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair”.
Contrastingly the cultural context of A Simple Plan allows anyone to achieve position of power in society through gaining wealth, the American Dream. Wealth is what is valued most within American cultural context because of the cultural influences. The whole mantra of the American Dream is the ability to rise up the social hierarchy therefore power and positioned aren’t valued as highly as they are within Macbeth. Culturally Macbeth and A Simple Plan are different however the values of power and position are inherent within both.
The innate human desire for power has not changed from Elizabethan times to now only what we value as cost important and how we achieve that power has changed. 2. The value of the characters social respectability and consciences slowly diminish throughout both texts. The opening scenes show both men as respected and almost dollied people within society. Macbeth in the opening few scenes is spoken about as a fierce, loyal and courageous warrior by the King because he had the ability to kill the enemy in war.
The contextual shift changes how Hank is portrayed in A Simple Plan compared to Macbeth, if Hank was portrayed as Macbeth was then we would not idols and aspect him as we did because the ability to kill thousands of men in a war is not respected as highly within western 20th century culture as it was in the Elizabethan times. Hank, through visual images of him talking and Joking with people of authority places him in the viewer’s eyes as a respectable caring man within the community.
The view sees Machete’s respectability tarnished when the guards start to change their views of Macbeth because of the murders that have taken place. It demonstrates how Macbeth respectability as a strong solider is diminished through his unnatural rule. This scene is parallel to A Simple Plan; Hanks respectability is lost when he accidental points the gun at Loll’s wife, after Lou has been shot to death. She presumes Hank is going to shoot her as he did her husband. When I point my that to you or anyone.
This would have been the same for Hank prior to the killing excepted now his social respectability is diminished. This highlights Hanks shift in position within society. He went from a respectable man into a murderous thief. The values of both texts stay the same however the due to the contextual shifts how the values and characters are portrayed vary. Paragraph 3 on historical change – 1. The shift in historical context does not affect the concept that the misuse of power, by murder, has such far reaching consequences that a person’s natural characteristics and persona are destroyed irrevocably .
The value of desire for position is highlighted differently in each text because of the historical shift so there actions have different consequences. In both texts, society as well as nature is disturbed because of the desire of power and position which occurs in the unaccepted order of the way things should happen. Act 2 Scene 2 Macbeth says “will al great Neptune oceans wash the blood clean my hands” this is effectively demonstrates that nothing including all the oceans could undo the unnatural and evil monstrosity that has been committed.
Similarly the value of desiring position in A Simple Plan has such far reaching consequences that a person’s natural characteristics and persona are destroyed irrevocably because of the misuse of power through murder. This applies regardless of historical context, and applies equally to Macbeth as it does to Hank. Although in Macbeth the disruption is heightened due to his position in society and the crime he commits in that historical intent.
We see here that contexts affect the values inherent within the texts and the power they have in shaping the audiences view on the crime because of where they are placed historically; Machete’s crime is made worse by the scope and context of the killing in that time. In an Elizabethan context where there Divine Right of Kings was an accepted concept, regicide is seen as killing God or the Pope within modern day society. Whereas in the context of American society all Hanks killings are demonstrated as equal because the society in America is not hierarchical, it does not depend upon birth as was Elizabethan society. Conclusion –