In Macbeth, Shakespeare presents us with a powerful vision of evil. From the very opening scene of the play, the power of evil is displayed with supernatural activities. The theme of evil and it’s consequences are clearly seen throughout the play as it changes the characters in the play and brings nothing but destruction. The fight between good and evil is depicted in the moral choices each character makes in the play. Evil is portrayed to be powerful as it is always seen to turn the hearts of the characters to seek for their own selfish desires.
The play opens with the supernatural forces in action. The witches meet in the heath in the mist of thunder and lightening. These very first images that are flashed into the reader’s mind pictures the powers of evil in action behind the scenes. The reader is captured by the sense of mystery as the witches speak in riddles. In the time period when Shakespeare wrote this play, the witches were believed to exist and were feared upon by the people to posses evil spirits who bring destruction. The first scene of the play sets the foundation for the play and shows the reader a glimpse of the evil power that will come into play.
The witches can be seen as the most evil characters throughout the play who bring ruin in other’s lives for their own benefit. In scene 3 of act 1, we can see their true evil character. The first witch describes how she has planned to bring a sailor’s family to ruin by tossing the sailor’s ship around the sea just because his wife had denied the witch some chestnuts.
The reader learns the physical appearance of the witches when Macbeth and Banquo encounter the witches. The witches “look not like the inhabitance o’ th’ earth” – this statement by Banquo paints the appearance of the witches in the reader’s mind. Ignoring the questions and remarks the witches were receiving, they speak what the had come for. “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Galamis!” “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Cawdor!” “All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” These prophetic words has successfully raised Macbeth’s deep desire to be the king of Scotland. His desire which is now watered by the witches to grow finally drives Macbeth to many murders and brings destruction on himself.
When we first hear of Macbeth from the captain reporting to king Duncan, we see a brave and loyal solider who has fearlessly defeated Scotland’s enemies. As the play progresses along with Macbeth’s evil desire for power, we see this once noble man of Scotland bringing himself to ruin by his own sinful actions. Macbeth’s evil actions does not go unnoticed as the nature bears witness to everything. The natural moral order has been changed. “Fair is foul, and foul is fair: hover through the fog and filthy air.” An owl which is a prey to falcon has killed the falcon. Duncan’s horses have gone wild in nature, broke their stalls and ate each other.
Macbeth’s evil actions has not only destroyed him but has also brought chaos for Scotland and for the natural world. This main theme of ‘evil’ in Shakespeare’s play teaches us the powerful deceitfulness of sin and evil desires.
The Struggle between Good and Evil; in Macbeth Essay
1022 Words5 Pages
Macbeth is without a doubt a play about evil. The play revolves around the bad and wicked qualities in human nature, but Shakespeare also contrasts this evil with the power of good. In this essay I will explore the ways in which Shakespeare contrasted good and evil in Macbeth.
These contradictions start in the very beginning of the play, with the witches. In line 12, the witches say, “Fair is foul and foul is fair.” This is interesting as they are suggesting good and evil as being one. The witches’ line reflects on human nature as there are fair and foul parts to everyone. Shakespeare wanted to get this message across as the main character, Macbeth, is a prime example of the struggle between good and bad within one person.
This opening…show more content…
They would assume that he was good, gracious and holy, all traits that would definitely not apply to the witches.
The mysterious Macbeth is also mentioned in this scene. However, we hear a different view of Macbeth. In line 16, the captain described Macbeth as “brave.” He also goes on to tell the King of the horrific battle between Macbeth and Macdonald. McDonald was fighting for the Scottish but changed sides to fight for the enemy, the Norwegian king Sweno. When Macbeth hears of MacDonald’s deceit, he thinks it to be so appalling that Macdonald deserves a horrific death. In his anger at such disloyalty to his king, Macbeth fought his way to MacDonald and “unseam’d him for the nave to th’chaps”.
When the captain’s story is told, Duncan declares Macbeth to be “o valiant cousin, worthy gentleman.”
This is outstanding praise from the king, but it confuses the audience. We have heard of Macbeth twice now, but both views contradict each other. The mystery surrounding Macbeth intensifies and we are curious to find out more about his character.
However, in scene three, we finally meet this enigmatic character. In this scene, Macbeth and Banquo, Macbeth's closest friend, meet the witches for the first time. The men are both Scottish lords and are in a similar position in society.
However, their reactions to the witches’ prophecies differ. Banquo is sceptical and quickly dismisses the idea of the prophecies, saying it was just their