Virtue and Evil in Macbeth
There is a constant war waging between good and evil in everyday life. It may be a war between two fractions that feel they are both in the right or an internal battle of good and evil. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth the titular character and his wife are battling against the true nature of themselves and in each other. Although they are known and seen by others as virtuous, their unsatisfactory greed and ambition lead both characters to become immoral.
Although a wife of a thane would seem to be ladylike and noble, Lady Macbeth disproves these classic stereotypical traits, and shows her true colors when the thought of power enters her mind. Although Macbeth would be the character readers would think would care strongly about the idea of being king, Lady Macbeth seems to take the roll of leader in the relationship. She appears to become a new person, using higher beings: “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.” (I.v.47-48). Lady Macbeth is asking for spirits to come and “unsex” her, meaning to take her gender. ). The fact that she’s calling to spirits is significant because instead of praying or asking for God’s help, she is asking for the presence of evil spirits to take care of her deadly thoughts. She also expresses this removing gender theme while passionately stating, “Take my milk for gall, you murd’ring ministers.” (I.v.55). To women and babies, milk is their food, a symbol for a woman’s sweet, loving nature. Gall is bile, which is known as a disgusting liquid, which is the opposite of milk. So to ask these “agents” to take her milk for gall, Lady Macbeth is essentially asking for her milk, the representation of her kind, virtuous motherhood, and asking for it to become evil, deadly hatred. So right off the bat, Lady Macbeth shows her lack of interest in portraying a virtuous, innocent wife, and shows readers her evil thoughts.
Macbeth shows contrast from his wife, however, and doesn’t...
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