Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

1112 Words5 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


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


... middle of paper ...

...iscussed the most relevant points,

I have come to the conclusion that the most important portrayal of

evil has to be the three witches. I believe they create the first step

onto Macbeth's road of destruction. There is a strong contrast on

Macbeth's character before and after he meets the witches. They change

him from a hero to the traitor he is at the end of the play. They

plant the seed of evil inside him; Lady Macbeth nurtures that seed

until it can thrive on its own. We cannot however blame all of

Macbeth's actions on the witches and Lady Macbeth. He got caught up in

a craze for power and ambition and the witches simply drove his

desires. I do not think Macbeth was entirely to blame for his actions

because we can see that without prompting he would not have killed

Duncan and therefore taken no steps in his downfall.
Open Document