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How is the atmosphere of evil achieved in Macbeth? What does it contribute to the events of the play?

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Introduction

How is the atmosphere of evil achieved in Macbeth? What does it contribute to the events of the play? By Rob Brown " Fair is foul, and foul is fair; Hover through the fog and filthy air" (I,i,L-11-12) The witches immediately set the scene for the whole play with these two lines at the end of Scene One. They are describing a role-reversal where everything that was good is now evil, and everything that was evil has become good. These 'creatures' (for there is some doubt as to whether they are actually human) are responsible for much of the atmosphere that is created in the play as a whole). They are also one of the driving forces behind Macbeth's ambition, because if they hadn't told him that he'd "...be King hereafter" (I,iii, L-50) he would never have wanted to become King, or at least he would have waited his turn. ...read more.

Middle

He also tells how "Duncan's horses...turned wild in nature...as they would make war with mankind". Shakespeare here makes a reference to the "Chain of Being", in which it was thought that all animals, humans, plants and objects had their place. The tales that Ross tells are all of creatures trying to move up in the Chain of Being. The owl is below the falcon in the Chain of Being, and so due to the supernatural, the owl wants to become greater and 'usurp' the falcon. The horses are trying to fight against humans. At the start of the play, Macbeth is a patriarchal figure. He's a strong warrior who is also loyal to King Duncan. This all changes soon after he meets the witches. There was no way he would ever think about killing Duncan. Indeed, his wife has to use a strong argument to persuade him to go through with the murder. ...read more.

Conclusion

They throw in the "wool of bat, and tongue of dog" and "eye of newt, toe of frog". (IV,i, L 14-15). To Shakespeare's audience this will have not only disgusted the audience but such witchcraft would have frightened them as well. The other theatrical tool that Shakespeare employs is to use strange and vivid characters to show how the evil has been absorbed into every living thing. I've already mentioned the witches, but nearly every character (except for the 'non-evil' people like Duncan) are affected in some way. Lady Macbeth is seen reading a letter in Act I Scene 5, and also talking to the evil spirits which she believes to be at play. This could show how she is affected in the play as a whole. Macbeth is also dramatically affected, as I have already mentioned. The Porter is another character who is in the play to both amuse and unnerve (two ideas seldom used together). He does this through his loud and aggressive soliloquy and his mentioning of satanic ideas. 800 words approx ...read more.

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