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In Which Way is Macbeth a Play About Good and Evil?

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In Which Way is Macbeth a Play About Good and Evil? Macbeth is a play that contains numerous references to unnaturalness, to light and darkness, to blood and to many other like images. Also through the play is the idea of "Fair is foul, foul is fair." Basically, this means that appearances can be deceiving. What appears to be good can be bad, and this is seen in such things as the vindictiveness of Lady Macbeth and in the predictions of the witches. Together all these images and different themes add to the atmosphere of good, but mostly growing evil throughout Shakespeare's "Macbeth". The blood throughout the play symbolizes guilt, and is often associated with hands. Bloody hands are symbolic specifically to guilt relating to killing or murder, especially violent and brutal death. The images of blood remind the reader that "Macbeth" is a bloody play full of murder, and therefore evil. Blood is portrayed very often and with different meanings, but in the end, it all comes down to good and evil. As lady Macbeth plans to kill Duncan, she calls upon the spirits of murder to, "Make thick my blood; Stop up the access passage to remorse." ...read more.


At the end of the soliloquy where lady Macbeth is talkin to herself, she calls upon the night to hide her deed from herself and heaven, "Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry "Hold, hold!"" (1:5:50-54) The witches add an element of supernatural and prophecy to the play. They also represent all that is unnatural in the play, so also everything that is evil. They are also, arguably the cause of all evil in the play. If they had not told Macbeth about his future of becoming king, he would never of thought of murdering Duncan. The witches show us what unnatural looks like, in a sense, they give the word 'evil' a face and a name. The witches are capable of very evil things, they have great powers, "But in a sieve I'll thither sail, and like a rat without a tail..' (1:3:7-8) The witches have the power to sail in sieves and turn into animals, the only disadvantage being that whatever animal they turn into, it has a defect. ...read more.


Lady Macduff represents all the good people slaughtered by Macbeth. She has a loving family and cares for every member of her household. She is distressed at her husbands departure and refuses to believe that he is a traitor, despite what others may say. She is concerned only that he is safe when the murderers arrive at her house. She is a direct contrast to Lady Macbeth. She is everything Lady Macbeth isn't. The basic theme of the play, according to G.R. Elliot is that a "wicked intention must in the end produce wicked action unless it is not merely revoked by the protagonist's better feelings, but entirely eradicated by his inmost will, aided by Divine grace." This is seen most clearly in Act V, Scene 1, where the Doctor says, "More needs she the divine than the physician." You could say that in everyway Macbeth is a play about good and evil. In every word, in every scene, in every act, there is something that can be directly or indirectly linked to any of the images relating to evil. However, no matter how much evil there is or how much blood is shed, good always triumphs. (Well in the imagination that is!) "Nought's had, all's spent Where our desire is got without content." ...read more.

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