23 Oct. 2010
Macbeth’s Eighth Mile
It may not make sense to think of Eminem and Shakespeare in the same category. Eminem is one of the best rappers alive, who writes his own lyrics. Shakespeare was one of the best writers during his time and is still famous today. At first glance, the writing from both of them may not seem to have any similarities. Although, with a closer look, a lot of the same themes are in each. Things such as ambition, greed, revenge, and appearance vs. reality can be found in both. Eminem’s songs such as “Lose Yourself,” “Love the Way You Lie” and more can be related to Macbeth by Shakespeare. In Macbeth, Macbeth has the desire to succeed and become powerful which is what Eminem relates to in “Lose Yourself” and other songs. In “Love the Way You Lie” themes from Macbeth can also be found.
In Eminem’s song “Lose Yourself” he raps about the struggle and what he went through to become what he is today. In doing so, he talks about multiple themes that Shakespeare also discusses in Macbeth. In the beginning of the song he says “look, if you had one shot, one opportunity, to seize everything you ever wanted-one moment, would you capture or just let it slip?” (Mathers) This relates to Macbeth’s desire to succeed and become powerful. This is also shown in the line where Eminem states, “This world is mine for the taking, make me king, as we move toward a, new world order, a normal life is boring, but superstardom's close to post mortem” (Mathers). In Macbeth, he also wants to take over and become the king. Macbeth will do what he has to do to succeed and at that point in Eminem’s life, he would do the same. Also, Eminem says “He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs” (Mathers). This relates to Macbeth because at first Macbeth is nervous and is not exactly for killing everyone to become king. Lady Macbeth is the calm one in the beginning but then they both change there minds on the topic. Macbeth’s desire to succeed can be seen everywhere in the song, in the chorus Eminem raps “You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity comes once in a lifetime.” (Mathers) Lastly, Eminem relates to ambition and his desire to become powerful and succeed. He says “I’ve got to formulate a plot or end up in jail or shot, success is my only mother******* option, failures not” (Mathers). Lose Yourself greatly relates to the ambition that is shown in Macbeth but it’s not the only song that can be related to Shakespeare’s writing.
More themes in Macbeth can be found in “Love the Way You Lie” by Eminem although you would not think so at first glance. This song talks about a relationship between a guy and a girl in which they are constantly fighting one moment and then they come crawling back to each other. I think this relates to Macbeth because Macbeth says he is friends with people such as Duncan but then kills them. This can fit under appearance vs. reality because they appear to be friendly, or in love in the song and then that changes. In the song Eminem says “but I still fight when I can fight, as long as the wrong feels right it’s like I’m in flight” (Alex da Kid). This relates to how Macbeth is doing wrong when he murders his “friends” but it feels like the right thing to do to become powerful. In Macbeth, he goes from being nervous and scared to on a rage because after the first murder he just goes on a rage and wants to be powerful. Eminem relates to this when he says “It’s the rage that took over, it controls you both so they say its best to go your separate ways” (Alex da Kid). I also think when he says “but your tempers just as bad as mine is” (Alex da Kid) can relate to how Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have both shown the desire to kill people to become powerful at different times throughout the play. Lastly, “I just want her back, I know that I’m a liar. If she ever tries to ******* leave again I’mma tie her to the bed and set this house on fire” (Alex da Kid) I think Eminem going back and forth and changing his mind can relate to Macbeth being scared at first and then becoming out of control.
Although it may not be intentional, Shakespeare and Eminem write about the same themes. Ambition, revenge, and appearance vs. reality can be found in many of Eminem’s songs. “Lose Yourself” and “Love the Way You Lie” are only two of Eminem’s amazing, meaningful, and popular songs. Many rappers don’t talk about meaningful topics but Eminem has managed to become one of the best rappers ever and do it while writing powerful lyrics. Would you have ever expected a Detroit rapper in modern day could relate to Shakespeare?
Lose Yourself. Dir. Marshall Mathers. 2002. MP3 file. Lose Yorself song by Eminem
Love the way You Lie. Dir. Marshall Mathers. 2010. MP3 file. Love the Way You Lie song by Eminem