Contrasting Evil and Good in Macbeth Essay examples
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In this essay I will look at the ways that Shakespeare has contrasted evil with good in his play Macbeth. The play revolves around the bad and wicked qualities in human nature, but Shakespeare also contrasts this evil with the power of good. This contrast between good and evil is a recurring theme throughout Macbeth.
These contradictions start in the very beginning of the play, with the witches. In Act one, Scene one, 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 aspects to everyone. Shakespeare wanted to get this message across as the main character, Macbeth, is a prime example of the…show more content…
Our questions are not answered and we are left wondering at the end of this scene.
This opening scene is one of the most important. It establishes the witches, who may be considered to be the root of all the evil in this play. This is the start of the battle between good and evil, right and wrong, and this creepy beginning makes the audience feel that things are only going to get worse.
Scene Two, however, is a stark contrast to the previous scene. In this scene we first meet Duncan, the King of Scotland.
In Elizabethan times, when Shakespeare was alive (1564-1616), the people believed in the “Divine Right of Kings”, which suggested that kings were chosen directly by God. This means that the audience would have a preconditioned view of Duncan. 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 this character. Shakespeare uses the structure of his play as well as his characters to show the contrast between good and evil. This is done by the juxtaposition of a scene with evil characters in it before one with only good characters. In Scene two, line 16, the captain describes Macbeth as “brave.” He also goes on to tell the King of the horrific battle between Macbeth and Macdonald. Macdonald was fighting for the Scottish side but changed to
Good Vs Evil In Shakespeare's Macbeth
The play 'Macbeth' is a very tragic one. It is about the downfall of a hero who is led by temptation to mass murder and cruelty. Shakespeare uses various styles and techniques to display very evidently how Macbeth's character develops as the story progresses, and thus we see how Macbeth turns from good to evil, from a "valiant cousin" and "worthy gentleman" to a "bloody butcher." The play tells the story of how a noble warrior, Macbeth, descends into evil after meeting with three witches - supernatural beings who prophesy Macbeth's destiny. He is told he will become King of Scotland, and this idea of gaining power leads him to murder the king, take his throne and then continue his 'murder spree' on seemingly whoever he feels like. Eventually Macbeth is slain and order is restored in Scotland.
From the very start we have progressively come to abhor Macbeth, however, we cannot help but feel a certain admiration for him. But much more we have a sense of irony and waste: irony because some sterling qualities have been put to such evil use, waste because Macbeth was a potentially great man who was lost. . Macbeth is a play concerned wholly with the battle between good and evil - throughout the play we continually see signs of a supernatural struggle between the two, with evil 'winning' over good when Macbeth murders the king, but then good finally defeating evil when Macbeth is slain. In fact, in the very opening scene we see signs of supernatural happenings and evil - the witches: "Fair is foul and foul is fair; Hover through the fog and filthy air"
Here we see that, to the witches, what is evil is good ("foul is fair") and what is good they find repulsive ("fair is foul"). This seems to be their attitude to life, but it could also be a warning to the audience that things to follow are not what they might seem. The first we hear of Macbeth is with praises to his name. He is called 'brave Macbeth', 'valiant cousin' and 'worthy gentleman,' fighting a war for God, king and country. "For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name - Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution..." However, it is in scene III that good and evil collide, when Macbeth meets with the witches.
Some say that this is the beginning of Macbeth's downfall, as in his first soliloquy he has already thought of the idea of murdering his king. This small seed planted in his mind will...
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