Essay on Potential for Evil in Shakespeare's Macbeth

Essay on Potential for Evil in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Macbeth and the Human Potential for Evil   


Macbeth is a study of the human potential for evil; it illustrates, though not
completely in a religious context, the Christian concept of humanity’s loss of God’s
grace.  The triumph of evil in a man with many good qualities becomes evident, as the
reader is made aware that the potential for evil is frighteningly present in all of humanity
and needs only wrong circumstances and a relaxation of our desire for good to consume
ones mind.  The good in Macbeth cries out poingnantly through his feverish imagination,
but the instigation of a supernatural power, Lady Macbeth, and Macbeth’s worldy
ambition all combine to crush his better nature.
 Shakespeare’s depiction of supernatural evil in Macbeth takes shape within
Macbeth who himself is the representation of the supernatural world; this is seen as his
ambition leads him to a dependence on the Witches as well as their predictions, and it is
this dependence which consumes him and allows the evil and supernatural to command
his life.  Evil exhists outside the protagonist in the world of black magic, represented
most strikingly by the Witches.  The appearance of these embodiments of the Devil in the
opening act establishes the play’s tone of mysterious evil.  The Witches cause Macbeth to
respond in ways that along with the Witches predictions, fuel his ambition.  When
Macbeth finally recognizes that their predictions were not what they seemed, he
denounces “ ‘th’ equivocation of the fiend, that lies like the truth’”  As the words roll off
his tongue Macbeth touches on the Witches most important quality, that they deform the
lives they interfere with because they disturb a nec...

... middle of paper ...

...ower of evil.  Macbeth succombs to
the temptation in an almost ritualistic way.  He acknowledges each evil and then
proceeds, prepared to accept “deep damnation” from the time he first recognizes
temptation until he is left with no alternative (1.7).  Eventhough Macbeth is equipped
with this knoweledge, a down-hill spiral begins and ulitmately it leads to his demise.
 Macbeth which encompasses some of Shakespeare’s greatest poetry, offer one of
literatures most striking accounts of an individuals soul’s descent into the darkness of
evil, and its resulting isolation from society.  Macbeth’s rejection of morality, and its
consequences-the loss of his soul and the disruption of the society that he influences-
horrifies the reader.  This is a tragedy that is as terrifying as the plots and wars of real
kings and usurpers of Shakespeare’s time.

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