Macbeth as a Play About the Conflict Between Good and Evil

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Macbeth as a Play About the Conflict Between Good and Evil

Macbeth is a tragedy, which addresses the inner conflict of people's

morality. Furthermore, it appears Shakespeare's intention was to

portray the modern day attitudes towards religion and the supernatural

of his time. Indeed, the Elizabethan audience the play was written for

would have been devout Christians, and would have had strict beliefs

towards good and evil. The audience was genuinely afraid of evil, and

it was about this time that the Salem witch trials took place, where

witches were executed. Watchers would have regarded the witches with

suspicion and fear, just as Macbeth and Banquo do in the opening

scenes. There is suggestion that this play was written for King James

I, as he had a keen interest in the supernatural and occult ideas.

Evil is shown in two ways throughout this play. We see the fight

between virtue and immorality within characters; through struggles

with their conscience, but they are also shown as forces in the

outside world, which arose from religion, and ideas of Heaven, Hell,

God and the Devil. The theme of evil is shown through unnatural

occurrences, the witches, and within characters. However, the intended

interpretation of whether these occurrences are literal or

metaphorical is ambiguous. For example, the dagger seen by Macbeth

just before his murder of King Duncan might be a vision of his own

mind, or an illusion created by the witches, to spur Macbeth on to

carry out the vicious deed. Whether these things are interpreted

metaphorically or literally depend on whether you think Shakespeare

meant to promote the supernatural aspect of the ...

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...ernity of damnation. For this reason he shows remorse, but this

remorse is subdued, and eventually disappears for good. Macbeth

relinquishes any hope of successful repentance, accepting his evil

nature. Praying is also common images used to portray the reliance on

religion. For instance, Banquo says "Cousins, a word, I pray you".

The struggle between good and evil is present throughout 'Macbeth'. In

the end we see good overcoming evil; in the death of main character,

who by the end was an evil figure. We see virtue restored, taking its

place as saviour and leader of humanity. Evil is completely

diminished, and the remaining characters seem pure and valiant, all

embodiments of complete goodness. It must also be said that although

this play was written many years ago, the themes it includes are still

valid in this day.

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