Preview
Preview

The Nature of Evil in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

:: 4 Works Cited
Length: 2067 words (5.9 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
Need writing help? Check your paper »



- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Macbeth:  The Nature Of Evil


        In Macbeth, the character of Macbeth has a. firm and correct grasp of self-knowledge, and a well developed concept of the universe and his place in it. He willfully disregards his own moral thoughts and institutions. According to Bernard McElroy, "more than any other Shakespearean hero, he [Macbeth] has a perfectly clear concept of who he is and where he stands --- and it is exactly this perception that torments and spiritually destroys him"(330). Macbeth is strongly impelled to evil but he also abhors evil. It is this that causes Macbeth to abhor himself. The play explores the tensions between Macbeth's proneness to evil and his abhorrence to evil. Macbeth is a tragic hero because he becomes caught in tensions between his criminal actions and the reaction of his conscience. Had Macbeth committed the deeds without any remorse, he would have been simply an evil monster, without any hope. But it is his conscience about evil that makes him tragic. Through Macbeth's actions, Shakespeare is able to depict the nature of evil as being: lusftul, deceptive, tyrannical, and disruptive to family.

To begin, Macbeth himself stands as a symbol for Satan's sin of ambition. Like Satan, Macbeth's insatiable lust for power and ambition drives him to commit evil. Although Macbeth's ambitiousness is not in itself evil: "His very strong social sense, worldly but valuable, together with that gift of imaginative expression whereby he far outshines all the others, makes him naturally and rightly desirous of winning `Golden Opinions from all sorts of people' [I.vii.33]" (Elliot, 288). However, Shakespeare asserts that Macbeth knows his place in nature, and is overly ambitious according to Calvinist doctrine ...


... middle of paper ...


...d devoured by it.

Works Cited

Bethell, S.L. "Shakespeare's Imagery: The Diabolic Images in Othello" in Shakespeare Survey: Volume 5. Edited by Allardyce Nicoll (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1952)

Elliot, G.R. "Introduction: On `Macbeth' as Apex of Shakspearean Tragedy" in Shakespearean Criticism, Volume 3. Edited by Laurie Harris (Gale: 1984)

McElroy, Bernard, "`Macbeth': The torture of the Mind" in Shakespearean Criticism, Volume 3. Edited by Laurie Harris (Gale:1984)

Ribner, Irving. "Macbeth: The Pattern of Idea and Action," in Shakespearean Criticism, Volume 3. Edited by Laurie Harris (Gale:1984)

Shakespeare, William. Othello. Edited by Norman Sanders. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984)

----, Macbeth, World Literary Heritage, Volume 1.0 (California: Softbit, Inc. MS- DOS / MS - Windows 3.1, CD ROM)

 

 


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »







This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
Essay on Contrasting Evil and Good in Macbeth - In this essay I will look at the ways that Shakespeare has contrasted evil with good in his play Macbeth. The play revolves around the bad and wicked qualities in human nature, but Shakespeare also contrasts this evil with the power of good. This contrast between good and evil is a recurring theme throughout Macbeth. These contradictions start in the very beginning of the play, with the witches. In Act one, Scene one, line 12, the witches say, “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” This is interesting as they are suggesting good and evil as being one....   [tags: evil, good, macbeth, shakespeare,] 1653 words
(4.7 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on The Struggle between Good and Evil; in Macbeth - Macbeth is without a doubt a play about evil. The play revolves around the bad and wicked qualities in human nature, but Shakespeare also contrasts this evil with the power of good. In this essay I will explore the ways in which Shakespeare contrasted good and evil in Macbeth. These contradictions start in the very beginning of the play, with the witches. In line 12, the witches say, “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” This is interesting as they are suggesting good and evil as being one. The witches’ line reflects on human nature as there are fair and foul parts to everyone....   [tags: macbeth, shakespeare, ] 1009 words
(2.9 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Driving Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay - Ambition can be defined as the desire and willingness to strive towards achievement or distinction. On the contrary, driving ambition is the outright desire to achieve a certain goal, regardless of any possible consequences. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, driving ambition caused Macbeth and his wife to murder King Duncan because of their desire for power. In an attempt to retain his power Macbeth also murdered Banquo and Macduff’s family. Through both of these cruel actions, Macbeth and his wife displayed that they are not concerned about the cost of the deed, but only final result that is achieved....   [tags: Ambition, Shakespeare, Macbeth] 1447 words
(4.1 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Shakespeare’s Lady Macbeth: Pure Evil? Essay -    Next to Macbeth himself, Lady Macbeth is the penultimate person in Shakespeare's play, Macbeth. And though she does not survive to the end, her influence on Macbeth lasts throughout the play. She is the most influential person in Macbeth's downfall, next to the witches. However, her relationship with him goes far deeper then that of the witches. It is my belief that the witches act only as a trigger to start the events in the play, and that Lady Macbeth herself was the driving force behind Macbeth's actions....   [tags: Shakespeare's Lady Macbeth]
:: 1 Works Cited
2905 words
(8.3 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Essay on Potential for Evil in Shakespeare's Macbeth - 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....   [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework] 719 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Horrendous Evil Within Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay - The Horrendous Evil Within Macbeth        Macbeth by William Shakespeare is a recognized classic tragedy portraying the victory of good over evil. This paper will explore the various expressions of evil within the play.   In Everybody's Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies, Maynard Mack compares the fall of Macbeth to the fall of Satan:   In some ways Shakespeare's story resembles the story of the Fall of Satan. Macbeth has imperial longings, as Satan has; he is started on the road to revolt partly by the circumstance that another is placed above him; he attempts to bend the universe to his will, warring against all the bonds that relate men to each other - reverence, l...   [tags: Macbeth essays]
:: 12 Works Cited
1962 words
(5.6 pages)
Term Papers [preview]
The Horrendous Evil Within Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay - The Horrendous Evil Within Macbeth        Macbeth by William Shakespeare is a recognized classic tragedy portraying the victory of good over evil. This paper will explore the various expressions of evil within the play. a In Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy, Northrop Frye compares some evil in the play to demonic possession:   There is some suggestion of being relieved from a kind of demonic possession, of a type that seems to run through history with its own version of de jure succession....   [tags: Macbeth essays]
:: 13 Works Cited
4020 words
(11.5 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Evil Reaps Darkness in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay examples - 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 sleep-walking of Lady Macbeth, all come in night scenes. The Witches dance in the thick air of a storm or, 'black and midnight hags', receive Macbeth in a cavern....   [tags: Macbeth essays]
:: 6 Works Cited
2749 words
(7.9 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are Not Evil Essay - Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are Not Evil Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are good people with poor judgment. It is unfair for Malcolm to describe them as "this dead butcher and his fiend - like queen". In the beginning they are a respected couple sharing a loving relationship. Their downfall is not due to evil, but caused by their ambition for Macbeth, sparked by the witches' prophecy. Macbeth's indecision on whether or not to kill Duncan, and Lady Macbeth's begging of the spirits to take away her feminine qualities, demonstrate that ruthlessness does not come easily to them....   [tags: GCSE Coursework Macbeth Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
2099 words
(6 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Role of Motifs in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay - Role of Motifs in Shakespeare's Macbeth The best way to draw a reader into a story is to focus on knowledge drawn from other sources and add to them in a way so that the reader can relate. William Shakespeare achieves just this with his ability to enhance Macbeth with reoccurring motifs throughout the play. Possibly the most prominent ones and those that represent the greatest are the sleep and serpent motifs. J When one possesses a conscience, the function to tell the difference between right and wrong; it impedes the ability to either make positive or negative decisions....   [tags: William Shakespeare Macbeth] 1253 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]