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Macbeth: The Evil Within Essay

1493 words - 6 pages

It is evident from the beginning of the play that Macbeth is sheltering something sinister within him. At that moment, it can only be guessed as to what it is, but as the play moves along this terrible feeling grows and feeds on Macbeth’s paranoia and his disappointment with life as a whole. Macbeth gradually goes on both a literal and figurative life journey, with its disappointments and joys. Strangely, though, Macbeth is not pleased by these accomplishments, and only seeks more. There are multiple characters that either lit the fuse of Macbeth’s ambition, or cut the fuse to make it shorter, thus leading him along the path to evil. Although one could argue that both Lady Macbeth and the ...view middle of the document...

He tells Lady Macbeth that they must “mock the time with fairest show / False face must hide what the false heart doth / know” (I. vii. 94-96). This murder of such a good and honest man as Duncan unsettles the universe, and even Macbeth is powerless to keep the truth from it. Indeed, as he performs the deed, Lady Macbeth hears “the owl scream and the crickets cry” (II. ii. 20). The author Blaine Pilkington believes that for Macbeth, “it [was] impossible to murder Duncan, a man of great virtue and sound leadership, and remain human” (Pilkington 1). This single act brings out the evil that has been present in Macbeth since the start of the play. Macbeth continues to deceive and hurt others for the remainder of the play, as they are unsuspecting that a man who was praised so highly by his king could possess such savagery and brutality.
Throughout the remainder of the play, Macbeth’s guilt is never questioned due to the blatant savagery of his attacks on friends and foe alike. As Spencer so bluntly states in her essay, “He is so clearly guilty of the crimes he’s worse off trying to make amends than trying to complete the task, futile as it may be” (Spencer 2). Macbeth never fully realizes that he is unable to atone for his crimes. Although Macbeth finally realizes the frailty and worthlessness of a human life, this does not evolve into him repenting for the things he’s done throughout his life. However, it was not always this way. At the beginning of the play Macbeth is commended for not stopping “Till he unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops / And fixed his head upon our battlements” (I. ii. 24-25). And it is Spencer who so carefully notes “A person earns the respect paid to Macbeth in Act I, scene ii: ‘brave Macbeth… Valor’s minion” (Spencer 1). This courage is especially shocking when one considers all of the horrendous things that he will soon do to make himself king. He chooses to abandon a life that held promise for him in the long run and instead chose to kill and maim for a chance at the throne sooner in his lifetime. It is this power hungry attitude that has been dormant inside Macbeth, as evidenced by Macbeth “Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel, / which smoked with bloody execution” (I. ii. 19-20). Something inside of Macbeth must force this darkness to rise to the surface, and this is the warped perspective that he puts onto the prophecies of the Weird Sisters.
Perhaps the most revealing incident when looking into the evil of Macbeth is his first encounter with the witches. The day starts ominously, as Macbeth is unable to identify what the three witches are at first: “Speak if you can. What are you” (I. iii. 50)? The Weird Sisters predict that Macbeth, already Thane of Glamis, will soon become Thane of Cawdor, and then King of Scotland. But it is Macbeth’s reasoning on the prophecies that are the main factor in his downfall at the end of the book. Both Banqou and Macbeth knew in their hearts that “The witches’ words were...

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