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In this essay I shall look at how evil is portrayed in Shakespeare's Macbeth. I believe evil is the first step on Macbeth's road to destruction and turns him into the bloody tyrant he becomes.

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Introduction

Sophie Edwards How does Shakespeare present evil in the play? Refer to language and imagery In this essay I shall look at ho evil is portrayed in Shakespeare's Macbeth. I believe evil is the first step on Macbeth's road to destruction and turns him into the bloody tyrant he becomes. The main evil wrong doing in the play is the murder of the innocent king Duncan. Evil is also presented in the form of the witches who influence Macbeth to stray from all goodness. Macbeth becomes tricked by their wicked ways, which cause him to act without values. Lady Macbeth is also a key figure in the play. She renounces her femininity and lets evil take over helping her drive Macbeth along with the witches. Shakespeare also uses metaphorical language and imagery of animals; birds in particular to represent evil. Shakespeare contrasts wickedness with innocence to make the brutality of the play appear worse. It is clear from the start of the play that the witches are important, in just the first scene before they say anything the atmosphere is already set as evil. They meet on a moor in thunder and lightning, which grabs the audience's attention. These surroundings portray evil; the moor is lonely, barren and bleak, whilst thunder and lightning assist in creating a supernatural image to place the witches. The witches have short lines, which are written in rhyme making their words seem like a chant. ...read more.

Middle

Lady Macbeth acts without remorse and is prepared to throw away morality for the sake of gaining a title. Perhaps if Lady Macbeth had not had the enthusiasm that she does have then maybe Macbeth would not have begun his stream of murders. Evil is heavily portrayed in symbolism throughout the play; sleep, blood and darkness are all used in imagery. After the first murder, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth cannot sleep, it is their punishment for committing such evil by killing King Duncan: "Macbeth does murder sleep". Sleep is portrayed as evil because when sleeping the witches torment Macbeth and Banquo. Macbeth talks about "wicked dreams" so that he cannot sleep peacefully. The dreams worry Macbeth so much that he would rather be dead: In the affliction of these terrible dreams that shake us nightly. Better be with the dead. The symbol of blood shows treachery and treason towards the murdered Duncan. Lady Macbeth asks the evil spirit to "make thick my blood"; by doing this she wants to make herself insensitive to the evil that she will commit. Lady Macbeth is aware that blood is a sign of guilt. To make herself and Macbeth appear innocent she says she will "gild the faces of the grooms withal" therefore laying the guilt onto them. The murder of Duncan is described by Banquo as "this most bloody piece of work". ...read more.

Conclusion

In the same meeting he invites Banquo and Fleance to a feast at his castle and obliquely asks what his plans are: "Ride you this afternoon". He also inquires as to Fleance's travel plans: "Goes Fleance with you". He is a tyrant for the fact he would kill his best friend and d his son to attempt to stop paranoia. Macbeth is painfully ironic when although he knows his intentions he says to Banquo: "I wish your horses swift, and sure of foot..." It seems he is laughing at Banquo inside whilst on the outside appearing sincere. I have considered the question and discussed the most relevant points, I have come to the conclusion that the most important portrayal of evil has to be the three witches. I believe they create the first step onto Macbeth's road of destruction. There is a strong contrast on Macbeth's character before and after he meets the witches. They change him from a hero to the traitor he is at the end of the play. They plant the seed of evil inside him; Lady Macbeth nurtures that seed until it can thrive on its own. We cannot however blame all of Macbeth's actions on the witches and Lady Macbeth. He got caught up in a craze for power and ambition and the witches simply drove his desires. I do not think Macbeth was entirely to blame for his actions because we can see that without prompting he would not have killed Duncan and therefore taken no steps in his downfall. ...read more.

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