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To what extent can it be said that Macbeth is a tale of Good vs. Evil? Discuss.

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Hannes Bernard Gr. 10 English 05/09/01 To what extent can it be said that Macbeth is a tale of Good vs. Evil? Discuss. The tale of Macbeth deals with many themes - some universal, others applying only to the 17th century. Most of these themes are common, and are centre to the drama and intrigue of plays even today. These include love, hate, revenge and power. Shakespeare's plays, however, always had one theme which stood out above the rest. This play delves into one of the oldest literary theme, namely the balance, fight and (ultimately) triumph of Good versus Evil. In fact, this is the only theme which is directly or obliquely part of all the action in the play. The presence of Good versus Evil as the main theme in Macbeth is not surprising. In fact, this very theme was at the heart of many philosophical debates during the 17th century. ...read more.


This is then further fuelled by the prophecies of the witches. In this case, the witches can be seen as the epitome of Evil in the play. Continuously the forces of evil are plaguing Macbeth. His ambition causes him to doubt his own motives. He often finds himself purposefully contradicting his own thoughts and this is because he is dealing with the conflict of Good and Evil. One sides tells him to murder Duncan, but the other tells him to be patient. Slowly you notice a decline in Macbeth's conscience, as he decides to murder Duncan. Once he has completed this one transgressional act of evil, he no longer fears the forces of Good. Subsequently, Macbeth is known as a tyrant and a coward by the end of the play. But for every 'evil' character there has to be an equal opposite. ...read more.


Critical character analysis also reveals the omnipresence of Good and Evil, which severely affects their position in this metaphorical battle. Clearly this is what the play centres around. But Good versus Evil is not the only important theme, and therefore it would not make sense to say that this is what the play is about. However, Good and Evil are the two driving forces behind the play. This leads me to conclude that the importance of Good versus Evil in Macbeth is of the greatest extent. The tale of Macbeth deals with the issues of greed and ambition. And it is clear that both of these are 'evil' traits. In fact, Macbeth is a brilliant depiction of the driving forces of 'evil'. From a worthy, noble man, Macbeth falls to a traitor and murderer. All of this because of Good and Evil. It is thus apparent that one can say Macbeth is to a great extent a tale about Good versus Evil, but also features other themes. 1 ...read more.

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