Macbeth vs. Satan
How can two authors write stories almost half a century apart where the characters have comparable qualities? William Shakespeare and John Milton wrote a play and a poem, respectively, where two characters share qualities. These characters are Macbeth from Macbeth and Satan from Paradise Lost. Despite the similarities between the characters of Macbeth in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Satan in Milton’s Paradise Lost, which include their strong will, pride, and insatiable greed, they have qualities that set them apart. Their differences are Macbeth’s overall righteousness, human characteristics, and being controlled by fate. Satan on the other hand, is evil, superhuman, and acts on his free will.
Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Milton’s Satan share some similar qualities. These include their strength of will, overconfidence, and their ambition, although they show it in different ways. Macbeth’s determination is seen by his unwillingness to accept defeat from Macduff and Malcolm in Act 5 scene 8: “I will not yield… though Birnam wood be come to Dunsinane and thou opposed, being of no woman born, yet I will try to the last” (Mac 5.8.32-37). Satan shows his determination to fight eternally in his speech to Beëlzebub: “…All is not lost: the unconquerable will… and courage never to submit or yield…That glory never shall his wrath or might extort from me” (PL lines 106-111). Overconfidence is another attribute they share, Macbeth showing it when he disregards
the witches’ prophecies about bewaring Macduff: “Then live, Macduff. What need I fear of thee?” (Mac 4.1.90). Satan shows it by believing he will able to defeat God: “…by fate, the strength of gods and this empyreal substance cannot fail…we may with more successful hope resolve to wage…eternal war…” (PL 116-121). Their ambition and
greed is also another outstanding similar characteristic. Macbeth’s greed is shown in his soliloquy in Act I of Macbeth: “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intents, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on the other—” (Mac 1.7.25-28). Although Lady Macbeth had to push...