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Variety of Evils in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Variety of Evils in Macbeth

The tragedy Macbeth by William Shakespeare manifests a rich variety of evils, not only by the main characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, but also by the witches.

Clark and Wright in their Introduction to The Complete Works of William Shakespeare interpret the main theme of the play as intertwining with evil:

The theme of the drama is the gradual ruin through yielding to evil within and evil without, of a man, who, though from the first tainted by base and ambitious thoughts, yet possessed elements in his nature of possible honor and loyalty. (792)

In "Macbeth as the Imitation of an Action" Francis Fergusson describes the evil course of action within the drama:

At this point there is the brief interlude with the Doctor. The king's evil and its cure and the graces which hang about the English throne are briefly described. [. . .] It marks the turning point, and it introduces the notion of the appeal by faith to Divine Grace which will reverse the evil course of the action when Malcolm and Macduff learn to outrun reason in that way, instead of by responding to the Witches' supernatural solicitations as Macbeth has done. (110)

Fanny Kemble in "Lady Macbeth" asserts that Lady Macbeth died as a result of her evil acts:

Lady Macbeth, even in her sleep, has no qualms of conscience; her remorse takes none of the tenderer forms akin to repentance, nor the weaker ones allied to fear, from the pursuit of which the tortured soul, seeking where to hide itself, not seldom escapes into the boundless wilderness of madness. (116-17)

Roger Warren states in Shakespeare Survey 30 , regarding Trervor Nunn's direction of Macbeth at Stratford-up...

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... Women Reading Shakespeare 1660-1900. Ann Thompson and Sasha Roberts, eds. Manchester, UK: Manchester University Press, 1997.

Kermode, Frank. "Macbeth." The Riverside Shakespeare. Ed. G. Blakemore Evans. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1972.

Knights, L.C. "Macbeth." Shakespeare: The Tragedies. A Collectiion of Critical Essays. Alfred Harbage, ed. Englewwod Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1964.

Mack, Maynard. Everybody's Shakespeare: Reflections Chiefly on the Tragedies. Lincoln, NB: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.

Warren, Roger. Shakespeare Survey 30. N.p.: n.p., 1977. Pp. 177-78. Rpt. in Shakespeare in the Theatre: An Anthology of Criticism. Stanley Wells, ed. England: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Wilson, H. S. On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1957.
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