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Macbeth It Is Unusual To Find A Character In Drama Who Is Wholly Evil

981 words - 4 pages

Many theorists hold that the hero of a tragedy ought to be a man of great power and status so that his fall, when it occurs, is all the more impressive, awe-inspiring, and shocking. Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, is a classic tragedy whose exceptional calamity leads to the eventual death of the powerful and over-ambitious protagonist Macbeth. Although Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, are two seemingly evil people, it is unusual to find a character in drama who is wholly evil. Throughout the text Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are both equally guilty of committing abhorrent and evil actions. However, in spite of these actions, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth understand that their behaviour has been immoral. This indicates that they have a conscience, and so they cannot be depicted as 'wholly evil'.Conscience is the moral sense, or capacity of our mental constitution, by which we irresistibly feel the difference between right and wrong. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth did not express amusement over the sins they committed. Macbeth had second thoughts before he planned to kill Duncan, saying to his wife, "We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honored me of late, and I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people" (Act I scene VII lines 31-33). At the same time, a mercenary would have no remorse in murdering another human. Also, it was her conscience which eventually drove Lady Macbeth to commit suicide in the end. She understood the difference between right and wrong, she knew that what she had done was morally wrong and this caused her to become deeply tormented by her actions. Characters that murder without remorse or thought as to its morality are those which we can call 'wholly evil'. However, Macbeth had to think twice and be persuaded before he would commit such a dreadful crime, and Lady Macbeth was driven to the point of suicide because of her immoral sins. Conscience is what gave them moral sense; it is because of this that we can say that they are not 'wholly evil'.A destitute, starving man may steal food out of sheer desperation, even if aware that the penalty for stealing is death. If the man is caught, this desperation could lead him to murder the person who caught him, so that he won't be sentenced to death himself. Macbeth is placed in a similar situation in the text. His crimes are necessary for him to retain the rule over Scotland. Macbeth murders King Duncan, kills his best friend Banquo, and massacres Macduff's family. Apart from the murder of King Duncan, all of Macbeth's other crimes are perpetrated so that nobody will know of his murder of King Duncan, and hence prevent him from losing the crown and everything he has worked for, just like the destitute man who stole the food and did not want to die. Macbeth is not a remorseless murderer who kills people for the exuberance which results, unlike the stereotypical...

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