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Evil In William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

1743 words - 7 pages

Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

In this essay I shall look at ho evil is portrayed in Shakespeare's
Macbeth. I believe evil is the first step on Macbeth's road to
destruction and turns him into the bloody tyrant he becomes.

The main evil wrong doing in the play is the murder of the innocent
king Duncan. Evil is also presented in the form of the witches who
influence Macbeth to stray from all goodness. Macbeth becomes tricked
by their wicked ways, which cause him to act without values. Lady
Macbeth is also a key figure in the play. She renounces her femininity
and lets evil take over helping her drive Macbeth along with the
witches. Shakespeare also uses metaphorical language and imagery of
animals; birds in particular to represent evil. Shakespeare contrasts
wickedness with innocence to make the brutality of the play appear
worse.

It is clear from the start of the play that the witches are important,
in just the first scene before they say anything the atmosphere is
already set as evil. They meet on a moor in thunder and lightning,
which grabs the audience's attention. These surroundings portray evil;
the moor is lonely, barren and bleak, whilst thunder and lightning
assist in creating a supernatural image to place the witches.

The witches have short lines, which are written in rhyme making their
words seem like a chant.

The language of the witches displays their hatred of all things good,
their rhyming couplets contradict each other and emphasises the
witches evil:

Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.

This quotation is a warning and hint to the audience that things are
not what they appear to be; it leaves us wondering what will they do
to Macbeth.

The witches meeting with Macbeth in the opening scenes are a
significant point in the play as it is the start of Macbeth taking on
evil. The witches first two predictions "Hail to thee Thane of Cawdor"
and "Hail to thee Thane of Glamis" lure Macbeth into a false sense of
security because he already owns these titles, and so does not
recognise the danger or the third prediction "That shall be king
hereafter." The witches plan to manipulate Macbeth, a reasonable man
into a callous tyrant and this is the beginning of it.

Lady Macbeth also plays a part in influences Macbeth's decisions; she
gives him the idea to murder Duncan and encourages him when he is
doubtful:

"Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'/ Like the poor cat I' th'
adage?"

Here she is describing him to a cat that wants a fish but doesn't want
to get its paws wet.

Macbeth feels bad about the thought of killing Duncan because firstly
he is Duncan's kinsman and also he would be committing bloodguilt.
Macbeth is only nervous of doing the first murder and if he hadn't of
taken the first step,...

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