Moral Reversal within Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

Moral Reversal within Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

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Moral Reversal within Shakespeare's Macbeth

William Shakespeare wrote many fantastic plays and Macbeth is no exception. Part of the reason why his plays were loved in Elizabethan times as well as today is because they are true to life. The audience can relate with the characters or situations in the play because they are emotionally involved. A literary device that Shakespeare uses is the theme of moral reversal. Morals are essentially the backbone of an individual's being. A person's morals will shape the type of person they are and how they will act in various situations. Simply stated morals decide how someone will live their life. The audience identifies with the characters of Macbeth because they can see the battle that is fought between a character's desire and conscience. This battle if fought numerous times throughout the play. The outcome of these battles shapes the decisions made, which are vital to the play. Each character within Macbeth has their own set of morals but only some of them become morally reversed. In these instances desire wins the battle over conscience. A clear line is drawn that indicates the beginning of this reversal and can be traced back to the same origin.

Prime examples of characters that are morally reversed are the witches. Directly at the beginning of the play we are introduced to their corrupt thoughts when we hear them say "fair is foul, and foul is fair" (I.ii.2) This one line establishes the theme and atmosphere for the rest of the play. The reversal of moral order is specifically introduced here. However the impact of these words impact many characters and Macbeth directly as a result. The witches say many things that reveal how corrupt they are. They speak of "hurly burly" w...


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...Consequently Lady Macbeth made no attempt to redeem herself instead she destroyed herself proving the evil within her. She could no longer capture what once was. She could no longer fathom moral order.

Moral reversal within Macbeth can be traced from character to character and ultimately begins with the witches. After a character's morals have been distorted there is no evidence of their repair within the pages of Macbeth. In the end moral reversal not only defeats the lives of the people surrounding the catalyst (Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth) it destroys the catalyst itself. It spreads easily among the characters given the right circumstances and character traits of the people within the story. The characters that are not affected by this moral reversal stay pure until the end and good ultimately prevails over the evil and darkness created by this immorality.

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