To what extent is masculinity associated with evil and violence in Macbeth?
Evil is a theme widely explored by Shakespeare in his plays and “Macbeth” is no exception. This play demonstrates violence in relation to evil and evil in turn is a reflection of the desperation and anxieties of the characters in “Macbeth.” The question of whether masculinity is associated with evil and violence is easily answered as the main character in this horrific tragedy is Macbeth himself, who commits a range of heinous crimes from murder to dabbling with witchcraft. However, the extent to which masculinity is related to evil is more obscure. In this essay I am going to show that evil and violence in ...view middle of the document...
Although he is violent, Macbeth is still portrayed as a heroic and noble character. He is described by King Duncan as a, “Worthy Gentleman!” (Act 1: Scene 2: Line 24)
The captain who reports the brave battle says, “Brave Macbeth, well he deserves that name.” (Act 2: Scene 2: Line 16)
Upon hearing these comments, Shakespeare has presented Macbeth to the audience as a patriotic and well- born character.
When Macbeth is told his fate by the three witches he can’t believe that such a thing could happen to him because in the time when Shakespeare wrote “Macbeth” witches were seen as a sign of evil and had close relations wit the devil, this is why I believe that deep down, Macbeth knew the witches were there to manipulate him, and not to help him reach his heart’s desire.
Nevertheless, Macbeth is still intrigued by what the witches have to say and yearns to find out more:
“But how of Cawdor” (Act 1: Scene 3: Lines 71). Macbeth then questions the witches on how they know of such events. By Macbeth tampering with evil forces makes him look like he wants to believe in such fate, by craving to know more of what is in plan for him.
When Rosses declares, “Call thee Thane of Cawdor,” ( Act 1: Scene 3: Line 104) Macbeth realises that the first prophecy of the witches has come true, this gives Macbeth reassurance that if he is now Thane of Cawdor then maybe there is still a chance of being king.
This is when Macbeth begins to have thoughts of killing Duncan: “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical.” (Act 1: Scene 2: Lines 139). Macbeth finds these thoughts disheartening as he convinces himself that having these formidable thoughts of committing such deeds is not within his nature, but we notice the word, “ yet.”
In Act 1 Scene 7, Macbeth still seems buried under and overwhelmed by his thoughts on deciding whether or not to murder Duncan. He makes a decision not to go ahead with the act, but he then goes back on his decision by persuasion from Lady Macbeth. He seemed quite easy to manipulate as shown by the witches and qickly comes around to her way of thinking. However, his decision not to kill Duncan may not have been from his heart or wasn’t a final thought.
At the beginning of Scene 4 we find Macbeth putting on an act as the time draws nearer to the moment of the sin. He does this by behaving as a caring and loyal person, who is indepted to his, “ Doing everything safe towards your love and honour,” (Act 1: Scene 4: Lines 26 – 27). Macbeth then reveals a slight clue to his evil plan towards the end of the Scene, “ Stars...........let not see my black and deep desires....... which the eyes fears, when it’s done, to see.” (Act 1: Scene 4: Lines 50 – 53). Although Macbeth is desperate to be king, he wishes he didn’t have to watch the fiendish act he has planned. Yet again, Shakespeare has used this imagery to show that Macbeth is a loyal person, but he has a constant battle with his conscience to keep his dark and...