Macbeth - Good and evil.
The eternal struggle between good and evil is one of the central themes of the play Macbeth. The conflict between good and evil can be seen in the inner struggles of both Macbeth and Banquo. Macbeth chooses evil when he allies himself with the witches, yet he continues to be troubled by his conscience. Lady Macbeth chooses evil when she invokes the evil to ‘Unsex’ her, but is ultimately driven insane by her troubled conscience. Banquo falls victim to temptation when he fails to speak out against Macbeth. While the struggle between good and evil is initially psychological or spiritual in nature, it inevitably assumes a military dimension. In other words, the conflict that starts in the hearts and minds of Macbeth and Banquo is ultimately settled when the forces of good physically confront ‘devilish Macbeth’. Throughout the play Macbeth’s reign is associated with the forces of evil. The witches who contribute to Macbeth’s downfall are symbols and agents of evil. In stark contrast Duncan, Malcolm, Macduff and Edward are associated with the powers of good. The evil that disrupts the natural order must be defeated so that the natural order can be restored. When Macbeth consorts with the witches he enters a world of evil. The Witches are in the dramatic opening scene they help to create the ominous, evil atmosphere that pervades the play. The witches’ hideously ugly appearance suggests their evil nature. They delight in mischief and cruelty. These ‘instruments of darkness’ help to bring about Macbeth’s downfall by drawing out ambition within him. They also contribute to Banquo’s moral decline by tempting him with promises of things to come. We witness the struggle between good and evil within the mind of Macbeth. The tragic hero is deeply interested in the witches’ prophecies to become king. After receiving news that he has been made thane of Cawdor, Macbeth is convinced that he is destined to become king: ‘the greatest is behind.’ While he is...
Please join StudyMode to read the full document