Potential For Evil In Shakespeare's Macbeth

672 words - 3 pages

Macbeth and the Human Potential for Evil   


Macbeth is a study of the human potential for evil; it illustrates, though not
completely in a religious context, the Christian concept of humanity’s loss of God’s
grace.  The triumph of evil in a man with many good qualities becomes evident, as the
reader is made aware that the potential for evil is frighteningly present in all of humanity
and needs only wrong circumstances and a relaxation of our desire for good to consume
ones mind.  The good in Macbeth cries out poingnantly through his feverish imagination,
but the instigation of a supernatural power, Lady Macbeth, and Macbeth’s worldy
ambition all combine to crush his better nature.
 Shakespeare’s depiction of supernatural evil in Macbeth takes shape within
Macbeth who himself is the representation of the supernatural world; this is seen as his
ambition leads him to a dependence on the Witches as well as their predictions, and it is
this dependence which consumes him and allows the evil and supernatural to command
his life.  Evil exhists outside the protagonist in the world of black magic, represented
most strikingly by the Witches.  The appearance of these embodiments of the Devil in the
opening act establishes the play’s tone of mysterious evil.  The Witches cause Macbeth to
respond in ways that along with the Witches predictions, fuel his ambition.  When
Macbeth finally recognizes that their predictions were not what they seemed, he
denounces “ ‘th’ equivocation of the fiend, that lies like the truth’”  As the words roll off
his tongue Macbeth touches on the Witches most important quality, that they deform the
lives they interfere with because they disturb a necessary element of human society, its
dependence on mutual trust. 
 Macbeth’s relation to evil is symbolic.  Lady Macbeth, too, though she rejects her
husbands scruples, is entirely aware that the proposed murder is evil.  She avoids mention
ing it too explicitly, and she can not bring herself to do the deed herself, because Duncan
looks like her father.  Finally in Act 5 Scene 1, her anguished madness, confirmed by her
suicide, demostrates her inability to absorb what she has helped unleash.  Thus, she also...

Find Another Essay On Potential for Evil in Shakespeare's Macbeth

The Lure of Evil in Shakespeare's Macbeth

1371 words - 5 pages to a murderer who will do anything for power, while Lady Macbeth falls apart mentally, but still, evil is there. The end of the play shows Macbeth being killed by Macduff to avenge his family. While it isn’t outright stated, most people assume that Lady Macbeth’s death was a suicide, caused by guilt. This is how The Tragedy of Macbeth excellently shows how lives can easily be destroyed by evil. In this case, evil was in the form of the three

The Witches' Evil Influence in Shakespeare's Macbeth

1326 words - 5 pages with four stressed beats. The rhyme of ‘again’ and ‘rain’ and ‘done’, ‘won’ and ‘sun’ as well as the half rhyme in ‘heath’ and ‘Macbeth’ and the alliteration in the words ‘foul’, ‘fog’ and ‘filthy’ emphasises the unnaturalness of these beings ‘Fair is foul and foul is fair’ this line tells us the anarchy the witches bring to our world. Their purpose in this scene is to create an evil and eerie mood and suggest that they will be the cause of

Shakespeare's Macbeth - Macbeth’s Evil

4184 words - 17 pages measure, time and place: So, thanks to all at once and to each one, Whom we invite to see us crown'd at Scone. (5.8)         L.C. Knights in the essay “Macbeth” specifies the particular species of evil present within the play:   Macbeth defines a particular kind of evil – the evil that results from a lust for power. The defining, as in all the tragedies, is in strictly poetic and dramatic terms. It is certainly not

Feminine Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear

1295 words - 5 pages Feminine Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear In Shakespeare's plays King Lear and Macbeth, evil is represented in both women and men. It is significant to the plots of both plays and to their impact through theme and character that evil actions are performed by women. The construction of evil female characters also gives insight into Shakespeare's view of women and their roles in society. The plot of King Lear is set in

The Sense of Evil Conveyed in Shakespeare's Macbeth

830 words - 3 pages text in order to express more clearly the theme Shakespeare is attempting to convey. The themes all come together to enhance the dark symbolism of evil, and how it is actually conveyed. The most prominent theme throughout Macbeth is ambition. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth risk their innocence and will in order to pursue the throne. Lady Macbeth sees her husband as a coward, and therefore this relates to the theme of Violence and tyranny, as

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as Evil Murderers in William Shakespeare's Play

1582 words - 6 pages Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as Evil Murderers in William Shakespeare's Play At the start of this play Macbeth is mentioned by witches which doesn’t give him credibility with the audience, whilst soon after Macbeth is seen as a brave, loyal and trustworthy servant of his king, Duncan. Almost as soon as the play starts, you hear of Macbeth’s bravery; “Brave Macbeth-well he deserves that name…Like Valour’s minion.” But soon

The Horrendous Evil Within Shakespeare's Macbeth

2044 words - 8 pages one for which his tempters gave him not a hint ---he slaughter of Macduff's wife and children. (317)   R. A. Foakes states in "Macbeth's Dramatic Allusions" that the evil interpretation of the play's main characters may be exaggerated:   When critical commentary on Macbeth, as on Shakespeare's other plays, began to flourish in the eighteenth century, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were often seen rather too simply in terms of evil

William Shakespeare's Repeated Reference to Blood to Establish the Theme of Power of Evil in Macbeth

3536 words - 14 pages William Shakespeare's Repeated Reference to Blood to Establish the Theme of Power of Evil in Macbeth "Enter Macbeth, with two bloody daggers" For me, this stage direction from William Shakespeare's Macbeth was very effective as it portrayed the power of evil to destroy. Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare used many references to blood to capture the attention of the audience. The repeated reference to blood was very

Evil in Shakespeare's Macbeth, Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

2889 words - 12 pages Evil in Shakespeare's Macbeth, Mary Shelly's Frankenstein and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Evil has always been in everyone's lives. Some people have it more than others. There are places in the world where evil almost takes over. It crops up in all kinds of places, all over the world. In these texts, "Macbeth", "Frankenstein" and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" there is a definite theme

"Human Nature Is The Embodiment Of Good And Evil - Shakespeare's Macbeth"

1435 words - 6 pages they are cruel, humans can be mean and they can be generous - they can be good and evil. Macbeth is true to himself when he fights for the King out of loyalty "disdaining fortune" and he is again true to himself yet he is also going against what he stands for, when he kills the King in order to obtain the crown. We earn that he was also easily swayed by what others said such as the three witches when they tell him of the prophecy. Later on, it is

Macbeth's Lust for Power in Shakespeare's Macbeth

746 words - 3 pages Just before the soliloquy in act 2 scene 1, Macbeth has doubts about Duncan’s murder. He says to himself that if the deed is to be done then it will have to be done quickly. (“If it were done when ‘tis done, then ‘twere well it were done quickly”.) Lady Macbeth then enters the scene and insists that Macbeth continues with Duncan’s murder for if not he is a coward. Macbeth is aware that it is an evil sin as he states “I dare do all that become a

Similar Essays

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

Evil In William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

1629 words - 7 pages Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth MacBeth is a play preoccupied with evil. There is a potential for evil in people in the natural and the supernatural world. It documents the evil brought out by a tormented king. The word evil in the question means something or someone is bad or harmful. The word supernatural means something or someone from another world. The play was written in 1906 as a tribute to King

Good Vs Evil In Shakespeare's Macbeth

1105 words - 4 pages follow are not what they might seem. The first we hear of Macbeth is with praises to his name. He is called 'brave Macbeth', 'valiant cousin' and 'worthy gentleman,' fighting a war for God, king and country. "For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name - Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution..." However, it is in scene III that good and evil collide, when Macbeth meets with the witches.Some say that

Evil Reaps Darkness In Shakespeare's Macbeth

2858 words - 11 pages Evil Reaps Darkness in Macbeth     "By their deeds you shall know them" is a Biblical passage which seems to state a lesson reiterated in Shakespeare's Macbeth. We intend to examine closely the dark future which the Macbeths deserved because of their sinful conduct.   A.C. Bradley in Shakespearean Tragedy comments on the darkness within the play:   The vision of the dagger, the murder of Duncan, the murder of Banquo, the