The Struggle Between Good and Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

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The Struggle Between Good and Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

The play Macbeth was written during a period in history where in

society many people believed that evil spirits were at work amongst

them. Public hangings and drowning of suspected witches were frequent

and the play Macbeth reflects this time in history.

It is immediately made clear from the first scene that the play will

involve dark and evil spirits. The disturbing weather conditions that

accompany the witches show the unsettled nature of the play. The line

'Fair is foul and foul is fair' highlights the constant war between

good (fair) and evil (foul). This scene acts as an introductory scene

to the struggle between good and evil. It is also in this scene that

the main character, Macbeth, is introduced.

There are several main characters in Macbeth who either represents

good or evil or the struggle between the two. King Duncan is the good

king; 'hath been/So clear in his great office', and kept Scotland in

good order. Duncan is also innocent 'like a naked new born babe', with

no evil deeds (clothing on the babe) dragging him into evil. There is

also Macduff who is a good and faithful man to his country. His wife

describes him as a traitor for abandoning his family, but she is

unaware that he went to save Scotland from the perils of Macbeth in

Act 5. Macduff stands up to evil and eventually destroys it when he

kills Macbeth. The third main character that represents good in the

play is Banquo. When Shakespeare wrote the play King James I was on

the throne. It was believed according to legend that James was a

direct decent to Banquo and in order to impress the King,...

... middle of paper ...

...s that there is no difference between the day and the

night. However the play takes a U-turn and Macduff causes the play to

replace evil with good. The play ends with good triumphant over evil;

killing Macbeth and regaining control over Scotland.

The struggle between good and evil is such that it moulds the plot and

control the character's actions. The good characters fall under the

power of the of the evil characters at the start of the play but

regain their composure and regain their strength at the end taking

control of the play and causing good to become the overall most

righteous. Evil is strong but is unable to last the length of the play

or stand up to good when faced with a battle between the two. The play

shows that to be good is the right thing to do as evil only leads to

confusion and distress of the mind.

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