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Macbeth

By | April 2007
Page 1 of 3
In our society, darkness tends to be the primary characteristic of evil. A black cat, a dark and stormy night, and a dark alley, for instance, are all modern day symbols of wickedness and evil. Authors many times will use these and other symbols to describe an evil character or setting. William Shakespeare employs the imagery of darkness throughout his play of Macbeth. He uses dark images often to describe instruments of disorder and the evils which characters act upon. In Macbeth, Shakespeare's use of the night's dark hour's give a sense of evil to the play. The words, actions, and descriptions of people such as the witches, Macbeth shows this, and even of other characters who are thought to be against all evil. Evil is present throughout the play, at a time when there is no light, and Scotland is covered by a shadow of darkness. In Macbeth, the witches are a prime source of darkness. First of all, the place and time of the witch's meetings all take on the feeling of darkness. The only times of their meetings are in the middle of the night, and often in terrible conditions of thunder and lightning. The witches meet in a dark cave. The cave is an appropriate setting for the witches because caves are murky and gloomy, and tend to represent the ideas of the underworld and hell. From the conditions and the location that the witches meet, a feeling of evil is already created. The appearance of the witches also adds to the feeling of darkness and evil. The witches are described as being, secret, black, and midnight hags! by Macbeth himself (Act IV, i, 47). The image today of a witch is an old, ugly woman who dresses all in black, and has a wart on her nose, and rides around on a broomstick. The picture hasn't changed much, except for the fact she now rides around on a broom. Witches still practice their magic, casting spells and hexes, looking into the future, and creating mystical potions, all things that manifest wickedness. Banquo even refers to the witches as...
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