The Struggle between Good and Evil in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The Struggle between Good and Evil in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Length: 855 words (2.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Struggle between Good and Evil in Macbeth by William Shakespeare


Shakespeare was born in 1564. He became rich, famous and successful by
writing many plays such as comedies, romantic-love stories and also
tragic and bitter plays. Shakespeare also wrote poems and sonnets, he
then died in 1616. ‘Macbeth’ is a story of witchcraft, murder and
there is an element of evil that can be seen. Here Shakespeare has
written a tragedy.

In the beginning in Act 1 Scene 2, Macbeth has fought against King
Duncan’s enemies. Macbeth is portrayed with a brutal, strong and
courageous image. He is the good Macbeth, honoring his King and
performing a duty to his country.

‘For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name -’

However Shakespeare quickly changes the atmosphere with the three
witches (a sign of evil). In Elizabethan times, the audience would
believe in witchcraft and the prophecies of the witches. Their
prophecies make him believe he can become King Of Scotland, his mind
rapidly becomes corrupt and he starts to think about the power he will
have on the land. ‘If chance will have me king, why chance may crown
me without my stir.’

Later on in the play, Macbeth becomes distorted and he hesitates as he
does not have any children to carry on the name, so he is wondering is
there any point him actually becoming king.

‘Upon my head they plac’d a fruitless crown and put a barren scepter
in my gripe.’

He expresses his feelings in a soliloquy. Here Macbeth has mixed
emotions, as a murder is on his mind however he is extremely
frightened. Here is an example when Macbeth is struggling between good
and evil, he tries to reject the impulse of committing the murder, as
he believes he can leave everything to chance.

‘If chance will have me King, why chance may crown me without my
stir.’

Shakespeare’s language is strong to convey the image of intense
emotions here in Macbeth’s soliloquy. There are examples of
alliteration ‘supernatural soliciting’ and an example of a paradox

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Struggle between Good and Evil in Macbeth by William Shakespeare." 123HelpMe.com. 11 Dec 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=144168>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Evil. It is a word that has been used for hundreds of years, yet the meaning is ones interpretation of what is evil. The criteria for an evil act have changed over the years also. My interpretation of evil is a very bad or ill act against a person, animal or God. Macbeth, 'dead butcher' and evil man. This essay will discuss this question. At the start of the play Macbeth is portrayed as a brave soldier, who would do anything for his king and country....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
771 words (2.2 pages)

Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth In this essay I shall look at ho evil is portrayed in Shakespeare's Macbeth. I believe evil is the first step on Macbeth's road to destruction and turns him into the bloody tyrant he becomes. The main evil wrong doing in the play is the murder of the innocent king Duncan. Evil is also presented in the form of the witches who influence Macbeth to stray from all goodness. Macbeth becomes tricked by their wicked ways, which cause him to act without values....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1112 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

- Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Evil is a word that some people use loosely, but it is a powerful word that cannot be used easily. In Macbeth there are some truly evil acts, for example a man who attempts to kill his best friends son, a man who kills his king and someone who hires hit men to do his dirty work. In this essay I will answer the question 'is Macbeth evil?' At the beginning Macbeth is a general in the king's army. He was an excellent soldier in the army, His sword "smok'd with bloody execution" and he was well known for butchering soldiers: He unseam'd him from the nave to th' chops King Duncan is very pleased with Macbeth's fighting and c...   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
622 words (1.8 pages)

Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay examples

- Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth In this contemporary era, we often wonder why terrible deeds such as murders and crimes are on the rise and what exactly urges the soul to have the courage to do such an act. Are we all capable of committing horrendous acts under the circumstances or are some people just evil by nature. Does the urge begin within us or are there supernatural forces that lead us blindly. These questions are uppermost in the minds of people living in the modern world and have occupied the minds of writers for thousands of years....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
896 words (2.6 pages)

Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay example

- Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth MacBeth is a play preoccupied with evil. There is a potential for evil in people in the natural and the supernatural world. It documents the evil brought out by a tormented king. The word evil in the question means something or someone is bad or harmful. The word supernatural means something or someone from another world. The play was written in 1906 as a tribute to King James the 1st of England. Shakespeare wrote it. King James was fascinated as most people were at that time by witchcraft....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1028 words (2.9 pages)

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as Evil Murderers in William Shakespeare's Play

- Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as Evil Murderers in William Shakespeare's Play At the start of this play Macbeth is mentioned by witches which doesn’t give him credibility with the audience, whilst soon after Macbeth is seen as a brave, loyal and trustworthy servant of his king, Duncan. Almost as soon as the play starts, you hear of Macbeth’s bravery; “Brave Macbeth-well he deserves that name…Like Valour’s minion.” But soon after he has his meeting with the witches he is already scheming; “This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill.” One of the central points of this play is the question of whether or not Macbeth would have become so evil if he had not met the witches....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1011 words (2.9 pages)

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

- 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....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1381 words (3.9 pages)

The Struggle between Good and Evil in Macbeth by William Shakespeare Essay

- The Struggle between Good and Evil in Macbeth by William Shakespeare Shakespeare was born in 1564. He became rich, famous and successful by writing many plays such as comedies, romantic-love stories and also tragic and bitter plays. Shakespeare also wrote poems and sonnets, he then died in 1616. ‘Macbeth’ is a story of witchcraft, murder and there is an element of evil that can be seen. Here Shakespeare has written a tragedy. In the beginning in Act 1 Scene 2, Macbeth has fought against King Duncan’s enemies....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
855 words (2.4 pages)

Feminine Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear Essay

- Feminine Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth and King Lear In Shakespeare's plays King Lear and Macbeth, evil is represented in both women and men. It is significant to the plots of both plays and to their impact through theme and character that evil actions are performed by women. The construction of evil female characters also gives insight into Shakespeare's view of women and their roles in society. The plot of King Lear is set in motion by the conversation between Lear and his daughters....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
954 words (2.7 pages)

Women as the Greatest Source of Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- Women as the Greatest Source of Evil in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Shakespeare wrote Macbeth the play in 1606. It was written to entertain the king (James 1st). The Play was preformed at Hampton Court and James was in the audience. King James would have enjoyed the play because it was very personal to him. He would have been able to relate to it as it linked to his own life in many ways. For example, in 1605 Guy Fawkes and a group of catholic men tried to kill the king by blowing up the houses of parliament, but Fawkes was caught and executed....   [tags: Papers]

Research Papers
1995 words (5.7 pages)

‘cannot be ill, cannot be good.’ This helps to explain his feelings on
his struggles, his uncertainty and his doubts clearly and this
develops throughout the play. Shakespeare uses this language to help
create a more dramatic effect of what the characters are feeling and
experiencing. Uses of light and dark imagery are used, for example
Macbeth says ‘Let not light see my black and deep desires.’ From this
quote it shows that he feels great guilt in what he has done. Many
scenes are in the dark; this helps create a sense of immorality and
wickedness. (He also uses many references to nature and wildlife when
the captain says, ‘Sparrows, eagles, or the hare, the lion.’
Shakespeare uses these images to deepen the impact of the emotions and
also our imaginations. Shakespeare also uses the weather to convey
images of wickedness. ‘Unruly night’ this helps makes the play more
exciting.)

Macbeth’s wife Lady Macbeth is an extremely strong and passionate
character, however she manipulates Macbeth, as her perception of him
is that he is too weak,

‘It is too full o’th’ milk of human kindness’

Her role is to instruct Macbeth of what to do and she will have to
urge him onto becoming king. She calls for evil spirits to help her
and she takes full control of the situation. Macbeth here seems glad
to let her have the responsibility. However he continues to struggle
on whether he should murder the king or not, he cannot commit the
deed, as he cannot bring himself to kill anybody though he desperately
wants to.

‘I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting
ambition which o’erleaps itself and falls on th’other.’

In act 1 scene 7 Macbeth changes his mind as he tells his wife, ‘We
will proceed no further in this business.’ From here we can describe
Macbeth as wanting to be good and actually trying not to be evil.
However once his wife hears, she is outraged, she calls him a coward
and insults him, from this Macbeth suddenly changes his decision and
agrees to murder the king. This shows us that to a certain extent
Macbeth is struggling between good and evil due to his wife Lady
Macbeth. This is because he cannot stand up to her accusations and in
order to prove to her that he is a man and is strong the only way is
to agree and actually murder the King Duncan.

After the murder Macbeth is horrified to think of what he has done. He
is being consumed by guilt as he has a guilty conscious, which he
believes that will remain with him until his death. This guilty
conscious also makes him struggle between good and evil however his
ambition to become king overcomes his good characteristic. Macbeth
panics when the attendants find King Duncan dead, he acts hastily and
kills them also, and Macbeth’s evil aspect arises once again.

After the murder, Lady Macbeth is troubled by feelings of guilt also;
this makes her sleep disturbed and uncomfortable.

"Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One- two -why then 'tis time to do't.
Hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie!’

Lady Macbeth is suffering from an illness of her own cause. The power
brought a lot suffering and trouble.

Later on in the play Banquo, Macbeth’s friend becomes suspicious; here
is where there is a role reversal in both character with Macbeth and
his wife. Macbeth becomes confident and determined and wants to kill
Banquo however Lady Macbeth has become uneasy and her strength has
retreated, she also realises he must not kill Banquo himself.

As Duncan has been murdered and his two sons have fled, Macbeth
finally has his wish, he has been chosen to be the next king.

Throughout the play, Macbeth’s character changes and fluctuates as he
struggles between good and evil. There have been more evil aspects
than good when Macbeth murders

people to meet his ambition of being King of Scotland. However, this
sadly kills Macbeth at the end of the play by Malcolm. Shakespeare
returns the throne to the rightful person meaning harmony is restored.

‘My thanes and kinsmen, henceforth be earls, the first that ever
Scotland in such an honour nam’d.’

Banquo also was told about his son’s prophecies by the three witches,
however he did not make any actions to turn this prophecy true. This
represents Macbeth if he took the path of being good and not resolving
to any murders, then maybe he would still be alive. Therefore to some
extent I believe that this is an adequate description of the play
Macbeth.
Return to 123HelpMe.com