Good And Evil In Macbeth

  • Category: English
  • Words: 670
  • Grade: 78
Shakespeare's Characterization of Good and Evil

        Many of us are familiar with Shakespeare's play Macbeth, but do not realize the in depth struggle between good and evil. Different characters can be considered as representations of good and evil, some more good and/or evil than others. One character that I think Shakespeare embodied as "good" is Macbeth. I know that many may disagree with me in saying that Macbeth is the opposite (the embodiment of evil), but I believe this because of how he was "corrupted" by the evil. I believe that Lady Macbeth is the embodiment of evil because of how she lures her husband to commit all the evil murders in the play.
        I think that Macbeth can represent us in many ways, one being his temptation by evil and then him giving into the evil. Another example of this is found in the Bible, with Adam and Eve. Even though Adam did eat the forbidden fruit, god forgave him. Tough he committed the deed, it does not necessarily mean that he is evil, just that he gave into evil's temptation.
MACBETH: One cried 'God bless us!' and 'Amen' the other; / As they had seen me with these hangman's hands. / Listening their fear, I could not say 'Amen,' / When they did say 'God bless us!'
LADY MACBETH: Consider it not so deeply.
MACBETH: But wherefore could not I pronounce 'Amen'? / I had most need of blessing, and 'Amen' / Stuck in my throat.
LADY MACBETH: These deeds must not be thought / After these ways; so, it will make us mad. (Macbeth II.ii.27-33)
Here is another example of why I think Macbeth is the character who embodies good. I think that this is just one example showing Macbeth's innocence, and the good that is in him. The following is another quote I found, which I think displays another example of how Macbeth is really good.
MACBETH: We have scotched the snake, not killed it.
She'll close and be herself, whilst our poor malice
Remains in danger of her former tooth.
But let the frame of things disjoint, both the worlds suffer,
Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep
In the affliction of these terrible dreams
That shake us nightly. Better be with the dead,
Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace,
Than on the torture of the mind to lie
In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave;
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well.
Treason has done his worst; nor steel nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
Can touch him further.
(Macbeth III, ii, 13-26)
In this quote Macbeth is speaking to Lady Macbeth, and telling her how he would rather have the world fall apart than be afflicted with such fears and nightmares. Death is preferable to life on the torture rack of mental anguish.
Lady Macbeth, I believe, is the character who embodies evil and "brings Macbeth down with her."
LADY MACBETH: Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'
Like the poor cat i' the adage?
(Macbeth I, vii, 36-45)
Lady Macbeth says how she thinks that Macbeth's courage was drunk, and now has a hangover, and continues to question if he really is a man. Macbeth becomes quite infuriated with these comments and decides to go through with the actions. But, Macbeth does question his wife: "What if we fail?" She replies to this by saying "Screw your courage, and we'll not fail." I think that Macbeth represents all of us, and that we are all born "˜perfect' and good"¦ and then are corrupted by the evil (Lady Macbeth).
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