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The Damning Of Macbeth Essay, Research Paper

Macbeth. “The devil himself could not pronounce a/title/More hateful (V,7,10-12).” Macbeth is the Shakespearean tragedy that is known for its evil and morbid content. The tragic hero of the play, Macbeth, is proven to be an evil man. His evil actions, however, are influenced by temptation and the supernatural which result in him a feeling of guilt and agony.

The evil actions of treason and murder which Macbeth commmits are morally inexusable. Macbeth’s evil rampage begins with Duncan, the king of Scotland. Macbeth murders Duncan to fulfill his thriving ambition to become the king of Scotland. At this time, Macbeth commits the two worst crimes and sins known to man; treason and pre-meditated murder. Similarly, Macbeths’ evil is further highlighted with his morbid murder of his loyal best friend, Banquo. Macbeth hires people to murder Banquo and his son, Fleance, jus tbecause Banquo was mentioned in the witches’ prophesies. Macbeth feels no agony or has no second thoughts about murdering a man who has been very close to him his entire life. To top Macbeth’s evil, he does the most horrid act of murder when he kills Macduff’s family and workers. Lady Macduff, her workers, and her children pose no threat to Macbeth, yet her orders the slaugher just for the purpose of hurting Macduff. These acts of treason and pre-meditated murder are wicked and unjustifiable. Having Macbethdo all these proves him to be immoral and even evil.

Moreover, Macbeth’s evil crimes allow him to realize what morbid actions he’s causing. He doesn’t, however, try to fight his evil and put an end to it. Before his murder of Lady Macduff, he states, “I am in blood/Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more,/Returning were as tedious as go o’er (III,4,167-169).” He simiply states that he is so immersed in evil that there is no point in going back. At this point in the play, Macbeth has already killed Duncan and Banquo and is contemplating certain actions towards Macduff, because he refused to show up at Macbeth’s dinner. He feels no need in redeeming himself and his behavious thus far in the play. His apathy towards redemption shows that Macbeth is overpowered by evil.

As a result of Macbeth’s evil, Scotland itself suffers. After Macbeth finally does commit the murder of Lady Macduff and her family, he goes on a killing rampage. In act 4, scene 3, Macduff, Malcolm and Ross speak of the horrid situation of Scotland. They describ the country as a “grave”, and use images of “orphans [crying]” and “widows [howling].” Ross brings the news that “good men…expire before the flowers in their caps.” Macbeth has become so crazed with evil, he begins to kill arbitrarily.

Finally, at the conclusion of the play, Macbeth’s evilness is seen by his opinion of life. Life is ordinarily seen as somethign to be celebrated. Macbeth, on the other hand, says life “is a tale/Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury/Signifying nothing (V,5,28-30).” In this particular scene, Macbeth reveals his depressive feelings, which are brought on by the suicide of his wife. His opinion of life is very sadistic. The evilness inside of him has grown to such extent, that he has no life to celebrate anymore.

On the contrary, Macbeths’ morbid crimes are provoked by his wife and the supernatural, and therefore he is not entirelly responsible for them. Lady Macbeth tempts and provokes Macbeth into murdering Duncan by insulting his manhood and making him feel guilty if he doesn’t. She tells him that if Macbeth doesn’t kill Dunca, he is a coward and not a real man. She then provokes him by saying she would rather kill her own child than break a promise, as Macbeth would if he doesn’t kill Duncan like they had agreed upon. So, to protect his reputation and respect, Macbeth is obligated to murder Duncan.

Similarly, the witches are a strong force that influence Macbeth’s actions. They constantly equivocate Macbeth so as to build his ambition. Macbeth would’nt have thought of murdering Duncan if it wasn’t for the witches telling him that he is to become the king of Scotland. He is satisfied with his position in Scotland until he speaks to the witches. Furthermore, Macbeth kills Banquo and Macduff’s family for the simple reason that they were included in the witches’ prophesies and apparitions. He eliminates Banquo because the witches said he would be “greater than Macbeth”, and that he will be the father to a line of kings. He then eliminates Macduff’s family because the witches told him to be cautious of Macduff. Macbeth keeps coming back to the wtiches so that they tell him more about his fate. The murder begins with the witches and ends when Macbeth commmits the act, and therefore, Macbeth is not fully responsible for his own actions.

In addition to the provocations on Macbeth, his evil is questionable due to the fact that he feels agony and guilt for some of his earlier actions. He has second thoughts about murdering Duncan, and agonizes over such a horrid act. He even wants to dismiss the plan, until he is manipulated into going through with it by his wife. So, Macbeth kills Duncan, only to have guilty thoughts afterwards. When there is a knocking on the door of the castle right after the act, Macbeth says, “Wake Duncan with they knocking! I would thou couldst! (II, 2, 93)” He is appalled by his actions and it affects his health. Almost immediately after the first murder, Macbeth begins to have bad dreams and insomnia. Likewise, Macbeth feels guilt over getting the thrown unjustly. He is never happy or satisfied with his kinsmanship. Never in the play he speaks of his fortune and gratification in response tohim being king. He merely shouts at people or is paranoid and afraid of people plotting agaisnt him. This is his conscience coming back to haunt him. If Macbeth is evil, he should not have a conscience bothering him. Evil people tend to not know right from wrong, and thus don’t have a conscience.

In conclusion, Macbeth becomes evil throughout the play only because he is tempted and provoked by others. His conscience bothers him until he feels that redemption is not possible. His acts of treason, murder, and his wife’s suicide make the play Macbeth one of Shakespeare’s most deep tragedies. One must never “forget the taste of tears”; for fear is the conscience that stops people like Macbeth from doing stupid and immoral actions.


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