The on Modern Macbeth

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Updated: Apr 11, 2022
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Whether it be the play of Macbeth, Beowulf or even modern day extremist groups or foreign leader’s tyranny has ran deep through these three examples. Within Macbeth, he becomes a tyrannical ruler toward the latter portion of the play when his kingdom is in jeopardy. In Beowulf, Grendal rules the night with fear and violence which is a tyrannical quality and modern extremist groups such as the Taliban as well as previous foreign leaders such as Saddam Hussein are still and have gone to the extreme to maintain control over regions of the world.

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For years there has been a power struggle in the Middle East. Whether it be political, financial or military power there has been a struggle. One individual who had ruled over Iraq with an iron fist for years would be Saddam Hussein.

Now for a little background information on Hussein. Saddam Hussein maintained control over Iraq from 1979 to 2003 when the United States invaded Iraq and inhibited his rule.His full name is Saddam Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti and he held a political position with the Ba’th party. He also directed the industrialization of Iraq’s oil industry in 1972. Just as a quick comparison, Macbeth ruled over Scotland with an iron fist and showed no mercy toward the latter portion of the play and Hussein would rule over Iraq for decades using fear to accomplish this. They were both also killed by their own people. Macbeth was killed by one of his former supporters were as Hussein was hung by the people of Iraq after he was given a court hearing. They both also had their countries invaded by a foreign power.

So as far as the foreign leaders aspect goes, Saddam Hussein fits the role of a tyrannical ruler pretty Bullock 2 well considering he controlled Iraq for so long and attracted the negative attention of the United States because of his use of the Iraqi oil reserves and because the United States was also on a mission to promote democracy within the region. Although in a different country, a dangerous group called the Taliban also ruled with an iron fist over Afghanistan for years and is still a threat within the region to this day as well as Al- Qaeda in Iraq. The Taliban operated a little differently than someone such as Saddam Hussein. The Taliban offered peace throughout the nation which turned out to be a false hope. In reality the nation was plunged into civil war and basic human rights were restricted by the Taliban.

Some rights that were taken away from Afghan citizens include the use of non-religious music, certain activities that would be found as everyday things to do were now punishable by death and taking photographs as well as television and cinematic materials were banned throughout areas of Taliban control. And as insult to injury, the Taliban had roaming fire teams (groups of gunmen) that’s sole purpose was to uphold Taliban rule and govern the region. This can somewhat relate to Macbeth because he had horsemen sent to hang those who were fearful and in doing so were upholding Macbeth’s rule. Many extremist groups in today’s age rule with like minded tactics. There are Islamist extremist groups all over the world that use similar tactics to maintain or assume control over areas of the world. One of these tactics would be the “use of elections as a tool to come to power” says Jeremy Sharp author of the U.S. Democracy Promotion Policy in the Middle East: The Islamist Dilemma .

With the use of elections, these extremist groups attain power throughout a region or maintain it for that matter and continue or start their tyrannical rule over the nation in which they are based out of. Sharp also notes that certain key interests of the United States could possibly suffer with the uprising of extremist groups throughout the world. These key interests that may suffer include the security of the Middle East, access to oil within these countries as well as cooperation with foreign militaries in question. With these crucial interests at risk, the Middle East has potential to become a lawless place and the potential for extremist groups to gain power and get on the level of other groups such as the Taliban, Al- Qaeda, ISIS and others. With the access to oil possibly at risk, the United States wouldn’t be able to sustain itself or its military capabilities.

Another question that arises with oil is would it be possible for an individual or a group with like minded ideas such as Saddam Hussein come to power and assume control over a Middle Eastern country and cause conflict. With the security of the Middle East covered and the access to foreign oil covered, all that remains to be covered is foreign military cooperation. With the cooperation of foreign militaries, the United States is able to maintain positive relations with foreign nations which in turn can lead to possible trade with these foreign countries and economic boosts within both countries. Another outcome of cooperation with foreign militaries is the combined efforts of both the United States military as well as the cooperating nation’s military to promote democracy and freedom throughout regions of the world and the removal of extremist groups from these troubled regions.

Without military cooperation, there would potentially be clashes for power in regions of the world as well as economic hardship and an overall unsafe environment for the civilian population of these nations in question. Sharp also expresses that there are Islamist groups outside of areas such as Iraq and Afghanistan that possibly have similar agendas as groups such as the Taliban and other prominent groups, These groups exist in areas such Morocco, Egypt as well as Jordan. In Morocco a group known as the PJD exists. Although not officially denounced as a terrorist organization, it is expressed that the long term goals of the PJD are unknown and that there are some who believe that “it remains committed to establishing an Islamic State in Bullock 4 Morocco” says Sharp. Another group in question is the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood. They are known as an illegal group by the local government.

However government treatment of this group is odd for it being deemed an illegal group. Government treatment “fluctuates between support, tolerance, and outright suppression” says Sharp. It is also mentioned that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has had a rocky past and has a more militant group of members. With this being said, Sharp also adds the point of how this group has shown differences about “western observers over the issue of pursuing engagement with the group.” This raises questions on what the brotherhoods true intentions in the future might be. In the early through mid nineteen hundreds, the brotherhood went through a period of hardship and even carried out an “assassination attempt against Egypt’s second post-monarchical ruler” explains Sharp.

With this being said the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood went as far as to attempt an assassination of a prominent political figure to potentially change the direction of the government at the time which can be seen as a way to attain political advantages which can be played into violence and tyranny. Within the country of Jordan, a not so extremist group exists known as the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood. This group is hardly an extremist group. They are recognized by the local government and are responsible for key factors of society such as education and health services.

The reason for adding in the information on the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood is to show that not all groups are extremist or show potential for becoming an extremist group and that some are publically recognized for the good brought about by the group in question. The Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s political association known as the Islamist Action Front had known ties to a group named Hamas.  With this being said, there was an allegation that Hamas had “hidden weapons and explosives in a cache in Jordan” says Sharp.

This can lead to Bullock 5  complications with the group’s integrity and there true political agenda and whether or not they will one day become a extremist cell with tyrannical ideas. Many of the groups mentioned whether it be the Taliban, or other groups that are minor such as the PJD and the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood can be seen to have a tyrannical agenda or can be seen as a possible threat to a nations security which in turn can make it a extremist groups and can later evolve into a tyrannical group depending on political agenda and actions taken by the group.

One particular case of tyranny that was discussed would be Saddam Hussein for his methods of ruling over Iraq in a sense that he controlled the government and people during his reign of power. Overall, the groups explained as well as Hussein can also have a comparison to Macbeth in a sense whether it be the way someone ruled or the terror used to control a civilian population or even the assassination attempts. That compares because Macbeth had Banquo assassinated but Fleance survived which means in a sense it was a failed assassination.In conclusion, Macbeth and the above discussed groups and Saddam Hussein have similarities through tyranny and terror by the use of the tactics used to maintain and assume power over a particular region.

Works Cited

  1. Encyclopedia Britannica . (2019, october 4). Retrieved from Jordan, S. (2001, november 17).
  2. The Guardian . Retrieved from Sharp, J. M. (2006). U.S.
  3. Democracy Promotion Policy in the middle east: The Islamist Dilemma. Congressional Research Service. Annotations
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The On Modern Macbeth. (2022, Apr 11). Retrieved from