Macbeth – Evil and DarknessGet Your
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The play “Macbeth” by Shakespeare is jam-packed with malfeasance and darkness. All actions taken by Macbeth, his wife, Lady Macbeth, the witches and Hecate have immoral intentions and/or evil outcomes. An example of such is Lady Macbeth’s dark intentions to quicken Macbeth’s crowning, fuelled Macbeth’s “vaulting ambition[s]” (Act 1 scene 7 line 27) to murder anyone or anything that stood in his path of a long reign. Shakespeare often uses darkness and will frequently set the scene as a dark and stormy night.
This depicts that evil happenings are occurring or are about to take place. There are at least three examples of this in “Macbeth”. “The night has been unruly: where we lay,/Our chimneys were blown down; and, as they say,/Lamentings heard i’ the air; strange screams of death,… ” (Act 2 scene 3 line 54-56). “Three score and ten I can remember well;/Within the volume of which time I have seen/Hours of dreadful and things strange, but this sore night/Hath trifled former knowings. ” (Act 2 scene 4 line 1-4).
Both these quotes are talking about the night of Duncan’s death. They are showing the comparisons between the natural unruliness and the anomalous disaster. “And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp. ” (Act 2 scene 4 line 7) is a metaphor for both the murder of Duncan and the night in which it transpired. A dark and stormy image is also portrayed when pernicious characters (ie. the witches, Macbeth and the murderers) meet. The witches play a very important role in “Macbeth”, as they initiate the evil plot.
Even from the prologue we can see the witches are evil. “Fair is foul, and foul is fair:” (Act 1 scene 1 line 11). They uphold their evil status throughout the play although their power is not fully demonstrated until the prophecies come true and also later where they conjure up the three apparitions. The witches are truly evil and love evil for its own self unlike Macbeth. “Spiteful and wrathful; who. as others do,/Loves for his own ends, not for you. ” (Act 3 scene 5 line 12-13).
Throughout the play they provide the strongest impression of evil. They are continually committing mischievous deeds, such as, “Killing swine” (Act 1 scene 3 line 2), tormenting sailors and casting spells. “Macbeth” is built upon evil and sorcery. Whether it be the witches “Double, double, toil and trouble;/Fire burn and cauldron bubble. ” (Act 4 scene 1 line 10-11), “How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags! ” (Act 4 scene 1 line 48), Lady Macbeth “Come, you spirits/That tend on mortal thoughts! nsex me here,/And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full/Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood,/Stop up the access and passage to remorse,/That no compunctious visitings of nature/Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between/ Th’ effect! ” (Act 1 scene 5 line 39-46), or Macbeth “Let not light see my black and deep desires;/The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be/Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see. ” (Act 1 scene 4 line 51-53). Shakespeare also incorporates unnatural circumstances such as Duncan’s horses eating each other “‘Tis said they ate each other. (Act 2 scene 4 line 19) and the owl killing the falcon “A falcon,… Was by a mousing owl hawk’d at and kill’d” (Act 2 scene 4 line 13-14). Shakespeare uses darkness and evil as a dominant theme because it captivates the audience and provides an intriguing setting for the play. Audiences of Shakespeare’s time were curious and enraptured in witchcraft and sorcery. The audience was beguiled by the witches yet were aghast by Macbeth’s evil doings. On the whole “Macbeth” delves deeply into a world of evil, sorcery and darkness, both natural and unnatural.
Author: Kimber Trivett
Macbeth – Evil and Darkness
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The Way Shakespeare Portrays Evil in Macbeth Essay
1627 Words7 Pages
The Way Shakespeare Portrays Evil in Macbeth
Right from the first scene, it is obvious that Macbeth is a story of evil. The play starts on a moor, with thunder and lightning being the very first signal that something less than ordinary is going on. Before the play has even begun, the atmosphere is set for an intimidating and somewhat frightening scene. Stormy weather is nearly always seen as frightening, dark and evil, because it is often related to so much danger and destruction, and Shakespeare uses this well to give and accurate and striking first impression of the play. The first people on stage are three weird sisters, making definite this idea of darkness and supernatural. They meet in a dark…show more content…
They have just won a battle and are making their way home across the moor when they see three women. They prophesise that Macbeth will be Thane of Glamis, then Thane of Cawdor, and finally King of Scotland. Macbeth knows he is already Thane of Glamis, but neither of the other two promised. However as the witches disappear into thin air, Ross and Angus enter, bringing news of the Thane of Cawdor's impending death. The King has announced Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor, as the previous Thane committed treasons which are punishable by death, so that two of the three prophesies have come true, which immediately unsettles the atmosphere of the play. The fact which has now been proved, that the sisters are in fact witches, greatly unnerves the audience, but it also sets the way for the rest of the book, on Macbeth's journey to becoming King. Shakespeare uses language here very well to create an atmosphere if amazement and disbelief. Banquo speaks first, saying, "What! Can the devil speak true?" The word "devil" clearly indicates that Banquo believes there to be something sinister and perhaps supernatural going on. At first Macbeth does not believe it either, but then he comes to realise that if these two prophesies have come true then why not the third? As he says himself, "Glamis, and Than of Cawdor: the greatest is behind," meaning