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Macbeth - How are women shown to be the greatest source of evil in the play Macbeth?

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Introduction

Macbeth How are women shown to be the greatest source of evil in the play Macbeth? Shakespeare wrote Macbeth the play in 1606. It was written to entertain the king (James 1st). The Play was preformed at Hampton Court and James was in the audience. King James would have enjoyed the play because it was very personal to him. He would have been able to relate to it as it linked to his own life in many ways. For example, in 1605 Guy Fawkes and a group of catholic men tried to kill the king by blowing up the houses of parliament, but Fawkes was caught and executed. This is linked to the play, as King James would have interpreted Macbeth's treachery against the king as a sign of the moral and divine justice of his own choice. At this period in time plays and real life happenings that involved treason against the king, such as Guy Fawkes caught the interest of the general public because it was such a frowned upon and dangerously exciting subject. This essay is about how women are shown to be the greatest source of evil. I will be focusing on lady Macbeth and the witches, because both are partly responsible for the killing of king Duncan. The witches manipulated Macbeth's thoughts and lady Macbeth manipulated his mind, therefore they both play a key part in the killing. The Three witches predict at the beginning of the story that Macbeth will become king, later it's lady Macbeth who persuades him to make the witches predictions come true by murdering the king. ...read more.

Middle

If this were the case than Macbeth wouldn't be responsible for his action of murder and his own downfall. If this were true than the witches would be considered a greater source of evil as they placed Macbeth under a spell and were responsible for his actions. This idea and use of language (rapt) conveys the fact that the witches have a great power over Macbeth's mind and have a strong influence over him and his desire to become king. In act 3 scene 1 Macbeth arranges the death of Banquo. An act of murder that Macbeth ordered without the influence of his wife, in an attempt to overrule the prophecies of the witches that Banquo's children will become king. By now the Witches have a strong effect on Macbeth as he believes in their prophecies. The fact that Macbeth committed this deed without the influence of his wife conveys the fact they have played with his mind and when he purses evil again by visiting them for further information, the witches put the picture in to his mind that he is invincible 'be bloody, be bold and resolute: laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of women born shall harm Macbeth'. The witches language and manipulative words lead him to believe no mortal can harm him, therefore he is safe from all, they encourage him to be bold and brave. Some people would say Macbeth is naturally evil but I would say that it is the witches who have the power to set him on his bloody course, laying about his downfall by manipulating his weakness. ...read more.

Conclusion

At this point Lady Macbeth seems to have joined the forces of evil. She uses forceful language and conjures up images of horror. It almost seems as if she has been granted her wish to the evil spirits 'fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty'. This whole scene conveys the fact Lady Macbeth is an important source of evil in the play and her part in persuading Macbeth to commit the deed was crucial. Her ruthless determination to make Macbeth king has over come all his doubts. I would say that it is obvious that both Lady Macbeth and the witch's are shown to be a greater source of evil than Macbeth. I believe that the witch's played a much bigger part and are more evil than Lady Macbeth. Like Macbeth she is driven by secret ambition, which is opened upon them by the seeds the witch's sow in Macbeth's mind. It is the witch's that make Macbeth believe that he can become king and deceive him in to believing him self invincible. Lady Macbeth isn't pure evil because later on she exceeds to the stereotype of women as she is over ridden with guilt. It is significant that she starts to fear the dark (evil) and has to sleep with a candle next to her bed. Lady Macbeth is driven to insanity by the guilt she upholds, she resents evil. The candle represents a symbol of a state of innocence and purity. Overall Shakespeare has succeeded in showing women as the greatest source of evil this play is true to the saying 'behind every great man there's a even greater women' By Kelly Loughran ...read more.

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