Evil And Gender Archtypes In Macbeth

797 words - 3 pages

Evil and Gender Archtypes in MacbethAt the heart of William Shakespeare's Macbeth is an examinationof the nature of evil and it's many faces and facets. The principal evil characters in theplay, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, are both evil, but the manifestation of evil is differentin each.Macbeth's evil is a dynamic character trait. He begins the play as a celebratedhero, loyal to his friends and dedicated to his king. He is strong and noble, a man to beadmired by his audience. Then he and Banquo are visited by the three witches, whopromise him that he will be king. This veiled initmation ignites a secret ambition withinMacbeth. Evil has dawned within him, but at this early stage of his transformationMacbeth is ashamed of his evil urges. He says, 'Stars, hide your fires;/ Let not light seemy black and deep desires;/ The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be,/ Which the eyefears, when it is done, to see.' (I, iv, 50) Soon, however, Macbeth is overcome by hisambition and his fall begins. He says, 'I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, butonly/ Vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself/ and falls on the other.' (I, vii, 25) Assoon as the descision to murder Duncan is made, and until his death, Macbeth is a vesselrelentlessly filling with evil. Macbeth is the source of all the dastardly deeds in this play.The witches ignite his evil ambition, Lady Macbeth stokes the fire, but the blame forDuncan's murder rests squarely on the shoulders of Macbeth. Macbeth may not haveheld the knives that killed Banquo or Macduff's family, but the agression is his.Lady Macbeth does not descend into evil. She wallows in it. From the firstmoment the audience meets her, she has blatantly committed herself to evil. She longs tobe even more evil, and tries to commune with unseen spirits to help her. She says,'Come, you spirits/ That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here./ And fill me from thecrown to the toe top-full/ Of direst cruelty! make thick my blood;/ Stop up the access andpassage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature/ Shake my fell purpose, norkeep peace between/ The effect and it! come to my woman's breasts,/ And take my milkfor gall, you murdering ministers,/ Whatever in your sightless substances/ You wait onnature's mischief! Come think night,/ And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell,/ Thatmy keen...

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