William Shakespeare’s shortest, bloodiest tragedy, Macbeth is a good starting point for those who are unfamiliar with the Bard’s works. It follows the hero of the title, a Scottish general, as he schemes to become King of Scotland – at the encouragement of his wife, the manipulative Lady Macbeth. The play is not an easy ride: it is relentlessly dark, packing murder, madness and marital breakdown into its compact size. Yet it is one of Shakespeare’s most enduringly popular plays, as the new film adaptation (starring Michael Fassbender) attests.
The world’s youngest self-made billionaire
Is she a role model? Aged 10, Kylie Jenner was a reality TV star, standing in the shadow of her sisters. Aged 21, she is one of the world’s most successful businesswomen with an Instagram empire.
Youngsters take on parliament’s old guard
Mhairi Black is a 20-year-old student with a football obsession and an occasionally incriminating Twitter feed. Now she is standing for parliament. Should more young people follow her lead?
UN plans ambitious goals for world’s future
2015 is a critical year for international development, as the UN meets in September to approve sustainable goals for the future. Is its utopian vision setting the world up for failure?
Jane Eyre: Understanding mental health
Charlotte Brontë’s Jane Eyre has defined ‘the madwoman in the attic’ for over 150 years. Our treatment of mental health problems has changed, but why are figures rising?
Plague of anxiety and self-harm laid bare
Is opening up about mental illness the best treatment? Several celebrities have courageously spoken about their struggles. But a deep divide remains over the merits of “the talking cure”.
Meditation therapy ‘as effective as drugs’
A new study suggests that the Buddhist-inspired practice of mindfulness is as effective as medication in treating depression. Do religious ideas have a place in modern medicine?
‘Beach hero’ drowns to save stranded child
When a young girl drifted out to sea this weekend, she was saved by the bravery of one man – but the rescuer paid the ultimate price. Should people give up their lives for others?
Parents hope ‘frozen’ child will live again
The UK courts have allowed the body of a teenage girl to be frozen, in case she can live again one day. There is no minimum age for the process — and the youngest ever patient was just two.
Neuroscientist claims to have proof of free will
If the brain’s workings can be reduced to chemical reactions, is there room for free will? This question has puzzled philosophers for decades; now science may have the solution.
Secret diaries uncover Obama, the young romantic
In revealing interviews, letters and diaries, ex-girlfriends of Barack Obama have revealed all about the youth of the American President. Was his fame written in the stars?
Scotland launches its bid to stay in the EU
Britain has voted to leave the EU, but there is one problem: Scotland wants to stay. An independence referendum is now ‘highly likely’ says Nicola Sturgeon. Could this be the end of the UK?
Queen’s remark on Scotland shocks politicians
After months of silence on the Scottish referendum, the Queen has entered the fray by hinting she would prefer a No vote. But does the monarchy have any future in an independent Scotland?