Like Macbeth, like Mugabe

Right from the time of the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden, men have always found themselves ensnared by the spell of women. However, that in itself is not the tragedy. The tragedy is that men have refused or failed to learn from history and everyday across the world, men are killed, ruined and trapped directly or indirectly as a result of their dalliances with women who claim to love those men. Perhaps, it is a curse that men will not learn!

There is a sort of similarity between the fate of the former strongman of Zimbabwe, the self-styled “grand old man of African politics”, Robert Mugabe, who was led to his downfall by his  wife, Lady Grace Mugabe, and the eponymous hero of Williams Shakespeare’s famous tragedy, “Macbeth”, first performed in 1606. That was 411 years ago!

While the dynamics of Mugabe’s downfall is fresh in our mind, that of Macbeth requires some recollection and I will devote more time to that. So, in the living world of Shakespeare’s didactic dramaturgy, who is Macbeth?

Macbeth is a Scottish general who has just won a major battle. Three witches appear before him and his comrade, Banquo, and prophesy he will be the King of Scotland. The doubting Macbeth becomes convinced when news reaches him right there that he has been proclaimed the “Thane of Cawdor” as the witches also prophesy. His ambition to become King and see the big prophesy fulfilled is mildly ignited.