The Power of Evil in Macbeth

Topics: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, King Duncan Pages: 6 (2029 words) Published: July 12, 2010
The Power of Evil in Macbeth

Evil is a destructive force; it causes harm to those who embrace it and their victims. In Shakespeare's Macbeth, the protagonist Macbeth and Lady Macbeth fall into the hands of evil. Evil is what drives people to commit unnatural actions of destruction. Macbeth succumbs to evil through his fatal flaw, greed, and it causes him to disrupt the chain of being. When Macbeth willingly murders, massacres, lies and deceives, he loses his heath and sanity. Evil corrupts everything it touches, and Macbeth decides to be evil's servant. But, when Macbeth embraces evil, it corrupts him, and it ultimately destroys him as well. Lady Macbeth is a victim of Macbeth's fatal flaw, since she is drawn in, and becomes greedy for power herself. She pushes Macbeth into destruction when she adds the small touch that plunges Macbeth into a chain of murder, destruction, and lying followed by the loss of their sanity and health. After Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are well into the depths of corruption and greed, it is clearly seen that their guilt will haunt them for the rest of their lives. The harm they have caused others will be returned to them as revenge and they have lost their sanity in order to gain power. The fate of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth clearly illustrates that to embrace evil is to negate our own need for order and well being.

By embracing evil, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have committed unnatural actions that disturb them. Their guilt does not leave them in peace, and slowly degrades their health. Macbeth's guilt causes him to act strangely in front of his guests, and it disturbs him deeply. Macbeth's guilt is deeply mutilated, and it only affects him when he hallucinates "Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves / Shall never tremble" (III.iv.124-125), and as soon as his visions disappear he feels better "Why so, being gone, / I am a man again.- Pray you sit still" (iii.iV.130-131), not something normal considering the actions he has committed. His guilt paralyzes him when he does feel it, but most of the time he is guiltless, and that encourages him to commit more murder. Although his guilt does not ultimately destroy him, it is a factor that brings his own men against him, since through his guilt he reveals the actions he has committed. The lords grow suspicious as he speaks to his hallucinations, and they inquire on his conflict "What sights, my lord?"(III.iv.142). Macbeth does not attempt to conceal his guilt as strongly as Lady Macbeth does, and this is what protects him from it. Macbeth releases his remorse by speaking to Lady Macbeth, and through his hallucinations. "I could not say 'Amen' / When they did say 'God bless us'." (II.ii.39-40) "But wherefore could not I pronounce 'Amen'?"(II.ii.42). Macbeth expresses his guilt to Lady Macbeth after he returns from the murdered king's room. Lady Macbeth does not show guilt throughout the play until her death, which proves that her overwhelming guilt is what killed her. As is seen by her sleepwalking, Lady Macbeth felt guilty of her actions and she replays the events that trouble her during her sleep. "The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is / she now? What, will these hands ne'er be clean?" (V.i.44-45). Lady Macbeth bottles her guilt throughout the play, and its overflow is what drives her to commit suicide. There are glimpses of Lady Macbeth's guilt, although she attempts to conceal it. Just before Duncan's murder is committed, Lady Macbeth shows remorse, and thus proves that the degradation of her conscience begins early in the play. She exclaims: "Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done 't." (II.ii.16-17). She speaks of Duncan, minutes before his dreaded murder, but does not reveal her guilt to anyone, since she is alone on stage (soliloquy). Lady Macbeth's overflowing compunction seeks for escape, and the only exit it finds is her sleep. Since Macbeth provides an outlet for his guilt through his hallucinations and his wife, it does...
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