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Explore the struggle between Good and Evil within the play, in terms of character, structure and language.

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Introduction

Explore the struggle between Good and Evil within the play, in terms of character, structure and language. The play Macbeth was written during a period in history where in society many people believed that evil spirits were at work amongst them. Public hangings and drowning of suspected witches were frequent and the play Macbeth reflects this time in history. It is immediately made clear from the first scene that the play will involve dark and evil spirits. The disturbing weather conditions that accompany the witches show the unsettled nature of the play. The line 'Fair is foul and foul is fair' highlights the constant war between good (fair) and evil (foul). This scene acts as an introductory scene to the struggle between good and evil. It is also in this scene that the main character, Macbeth, is introduced. There are several main characters in Macbeth who either represents good or evil or the struggle between the two. King Duncan is the good king; 'hath been/So clear in his great office', and kept Scotland in good order. Duncan is also innocent 'like a naked new born babe', with no evil deeds (clothing on the babe) dragging him into evil. There is also Macduff who is a good and faithful man to his country. His wife describes him as a traitor for abandoning his family, but she is unaware that he went to save Scotland from the perils of Macbeth in Act 5. ...read more.

Middle

This request takes her femininity away from her, leaving her with no sensitive feelings and emotions, allowing her to commit the murder and immediately feel no guilt from it. However as the play develops Lady Macbeth starts to regain this femininity and she feels guilty for the murder of Duncan, is scared of darkness and becomes very small and passive in her relationship with Macbeth. Her sleep patterns become disturbed and she is unable to sleep peacefully, constantly awaking and sleep walking (Act 5 scene 1). The collapse and weakening of her evil nature causes Lady Macbeth to lose her own mind and in effect has a nervous breakdown, eventually committing suicide. She is tormented by evil and as she is tormented by it and not welcoming it shows that at the end of the play she is not evil, but instead scared of it. It is not only the characters that struggle between the presence of good and evil, but nature too is unable to stand up to evil. On the night that Duncan was murdered great storms that had never been seen before were experienced. Nature was turned to the wrong way; owls killed falcons and horses escaped and ate each other. These acts reflected those done by Macbeth. In terms of the King, Macbeth was far lower than him in the hierarchy, like an owl is not as dominant as a falcon. ...read more.

Conclusion

This conflict between the good men of Scotland and the evil Macbeth is the main struggle between good and evil and allows much imagery and metaphors to form from this plot. The plot is such that it forms a circle. The beginning of the play is good with a strong influence from the good noblemen and the King but as the power of evil takes effect on Scotland the plot turns evil and reaches its climax. This when Macbeth says; 'that should I [Macbeth] wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er' and when Lady Macbeth notes that there is no difference between the day and the night. However the play takes a U-turn and Macduff causes the play to replace evil with good. The play ends with good triumphant over evil; killing Macbeth and regaining control over Scotland. The struggle between good and evil is such that it moulds the plot and control the character's actions. The good characters fall under the power of the of the evil characters at the start of the play but regain their composure and regain their strength at the end taking control of the play and causing good to become the overall most righteous. Evil is strong but is unable to last the length of the play or stand up to good when faced with a battle between the two. The play shows that to be good is the right thing to do as evil only leads to confusion and distress of the mind. Anne-Marie Rand ...read more.

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