Moral Reversal within Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

Moral Reversal within Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

Length: 883 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Good Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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...

... middle of paper ...

...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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Role Reversal within Macbeth Essay

- Role Reversal within Macbeth Shakespeare’s Macbeth documents a man’s desire for power, and the murderous acts that he commits in order to gain it. Nevertheless, it equally focuses on his power-crazed wife and her amplified drive for control. Macbeth and his wife are joined by more than holy matrimony. Shakespeare creates an intriguing relationship that traces the downfall of not a single person, but an entity comprised of two. The concentration is directed on this oneness through the plot progression within Macbeth, in which the roles of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are reversed....   [tags: Essays Papers]

Free Essays
1895 words (5.4 pages)

Macbeth, By William Shakespeare Essay

- In Shakespeare’s tragic play Macbeth, Shakespeare creates the ruthless character Macbeth, who is willing to go beyond any measure in order to attain the power of being king, including murder, deceit, betrayal and overpowering the chain of being. Macbeth was first tempted by the idea of kingship when three witches presented him with their portent of Macbeth becoming the next King of Scotland. Ebullient, Macbeth, immediately informed his wife of the news and they both pondered the thought of having the power to rule all of Scotland....   [tags: Macbeth, Three Witches, Macbeth]

Good Essays
1563 words (4.5 pages)

The Theme of Birds in Macbeth Essays

- Macbeth is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare which deals about the consequences of excessive greed. Shakespeare also uses an abundance of literary devices especially nature and animal imageries. These imageries are used to represent the disturbance in the Great Chain1 which is shown through the murder of King Duncan which destroys the natural order of things especially in the succession to the throne. The birds play the critical role of conveying this idea through foreshadowing and characterization.2 The first function of the bird as a thematic image is to foreshadow....   [tags: themes, macbeth, shakespeare, ]

Good Essays
824 words (2.4 pages)

Shakespeare's Macbeth - Macbeth's Dark Quality Essays

- Macbeth's Dark Quality      It is obvious to the reader of Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth that there are varying types and degrees of darkness in the drama. We shall look at this in detail within this paper.   L.C. Knights in the essay "Macbeth" describes the moral darkness into which Macbeth lowers himself:   The main theme of the reversal of values is given out simply and clearly in the first scene - "Fair is foul, and foul is fair"; and with it are associated premonitions of the conflict, disorder and moral darkness into which Macbeth will plunge himself.  (95)   Charles Lamb in On the Tragedies of Shakespeare comments on the "images of night" and their impact on the audience:...   [tags: Macbeth essays]

Free Essays
2741 words (7.8 pages)

Fate And Supernatural In Macbeth Essay

- Fate and supernatural are inevitably linked, they manipulate and motivate the main protagonist, Macbeth to explore tragic hero traits. The supernatural aspect of the play initially causes hubris within Macbeth. His first encounter with the supernatural force is when him and Banquo come across three strange witches, who predict their future prophecies. After Macbeth is named thane of Cawdor, one of the witches prophecies, Macbeth experiences a sudden pride and arrogance, causing him to misinterpret the meaning of fate....   [tags: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Witchcraft, Violence]

Good Essays
988 words (2.8 pages)

Shakespeare's Macbeth - Aristotelian Tragedy Essay

- Macbeth: Aristotelian Tragedy The definition of tragedy in an excerpt from Aristotle's "Poetics" is the re-creation, complete within itself, of an important moral action. The relevance of Aristotle's Poetics to Shakespeare's play Macbeth defines the making of a dramatic tragedy and presents the general principles of the construction of this genre. Aristotle's attention throughout most of his Poetics is directed towards the requirements and expectations of the plot....   [tags: Macbeth essays]

Free Essays
1814 words (5.2 pages)

Evil Reaps Darkness in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay examples

- Evil Reaps Darkness in Macbeth     "By their deeds you shall know them" is a Biblical passage which seems to state a lesson reiterated in Shakespeare's Macbeth. We intend to examine closely the dark future which the Macbeths deserved because of their sinful conduct.   A.C. Bradley in Shakespearean Tragedy comments on the darkness within the play:   The vision of the dagger, the murder of Duncan, the murder of Banquo, the sleep-walking of Lady Macbeth, all come in night scenes. The Witches dance in the thick air of a storm or, 'black and midnight hags', receive Macbeth in a cavern....   [tags: Macbeth essays]

Good Essays
2749 words (7.9 pages)

Essay On Gender Roles In Macbeth

- In 16th century Scotland the expectations of both men and women were different from what they are today. When a woman of the 1600’s reached marriage they were considered her husband's property. Wives were required to be subservient to the men in their lives and do as they wished. In contrast, it was a man's job to provide for his family. Men typically were to act masculine and powerful, and defend the honor. Legally everything his wife had before and after marriage was owned by him. In William Shakespeare's tragedy “Macbeth“, Shakespeare contrasts the traditional ideas of gender roles with the reversal of the “female” and “male” norm....   [tags: Gender, Gender role, Macbeth, Woman, Masculinity]

Good Essays
992 words (2.8 pages)

Essay on Retribution in Shakespeare's Macbeth

- In the most literal sense, retribution is defined as “the dispensing or receiving of reward or punishment especially in the hereafter,” according to the Merriam Webster Dictionary. In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the ideas of “give and take” are based on one’s actions. It is a theme that’s located in every aspect of the text, wherein the characters gain or lose power and/or life due to actions taken against them as well as by them. Nothing is inconsequential or coincidence. Things were all planned, though not in the sense of destiny and preordained fate but rather in the combination of man and greed and the fight for power....   [tags: essays research papers]

Good Essays
1058 words (3 pages)

The Three Witches in Macbeth Essay

- The three witches in the tragedy Macbeth are introduced right at the beginning of the play. The scene opens with the witches chanting three prophesies: Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis and King. These prophesies introduce Macbeth to his plan of defeat and to over power. Macbeth will eventually follow through in killing king Duncan. Some people believe that the witches had the ability to reverse the order of things. This brings into the play idea of fate and the role with which it has in the play....   [tags: William Shakespeare]

Good Essays
986 words (2.8 pages)