Re-Creation and Immortal Fame: The Search for Eternal Life in Macbeth and Coriolanus

In Shakespeare's time, having children was, arguably, even more important than it is today. In a society dominated by rules of inheritance and birthright, children were important, not only as the means of carrying on a name and genetic material, but also title and property. Shakespeare's Macbeth and Coriolanus take up this issue but seem to draw different conclusions. Although the perception of children in these plays differs, both plays use children to accentuate the tragic flaws of the hero. Macbeth is a play obsessed with time, inheritance and progeny. Childless Macbeth slays men, women and children, hopelessly trying to maintain his unnatural hold of the throne that is prophesized to ultimately belong to generations of Banquo's sons. Because of Macbeth's futile obsession with everlasting rule, the interplay between fathers, sons and succession becomes important. The familial relationships in Macbeth all suggest the naturalness and necessity of close relationships between fathers and sons. Father and son pairs work together in this play, thereby creating companionship and ensuring the future of the son and family upon the father's death. Surrounded by these relationships, yet himself childless, Macbeth...

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