- Term Papers and Free Essays

Macbeth's Descent Into Evil

Essay by   •  October 31, 2010  •  872 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,553 Views

Essay Preview: Macbeth's Descent Into Evil

Report this essay
Page 1 of 4

Macbeth's Decent Into Evil

The character Macbeth in the story of Shakespeare's Macbeth faces decisions that affect his morals. He begins as an innocent soul, dedicated to serve his kingdom and its king, Duncan. As time passes and opportunities present themselves combined with the deception of the evil witches, Macbeth begins his descent into madness. Macbeth's innocence and loyalty are completely corrupted due to his over confidence, guilty conscience, and the inevitability of human nature. Macbeth looses sight of what is morally right to do in life because his logical choices are changed by these factors.

Macbeth was capable of achieving his place as king but his path to greatness would not have occurred without his ability to be overconfident. This ability was responsible for his overall position as being blind to the possibility of failure. The witches assured him that he would be essentially invincible and that only in what seemed to be impossible situations, would his life be threatened. Macbeth explains:

"With thy keen sword impress as make me bleed:

Let fall thy blade of vulnerable crests;

I bear a charmed life, which must not yield

To one of woman born" (5.8. 13-16).

Macbeth was so confident that the idea of someone not being born of a woman was impossible in itself and therefore he had nothing to fear. However, it was this overconfidence that the witches depended on. They wanted the overconfidence to prevent Macbeth from understanding the consequences of his actions, and to do so they overwhelmed him with security:

"He shall spurn fate, scorn death, and bear

His hopes'bove wisdom, grace, and fear:

And you all know security

Is mortals' chiefest enemy" (3.5.29-33).

Another factor resulting in the inevitability of Macbeth's evil was his Guilty conscience. Macbeth knows his actions are wrong and he understands and feels grief at first but as time goes on he dismisses his feeling so that his reign as king remains secured. He kills his friend Banquo because he threatens his chance to keep his kingship. After dong so he try's to override his feeling but can not contain himself and his true feelings are expressed in a stroke of his madness:

"Ay and a bold one, that dare look on that

Which might appall the Devil" (3.4.73-74).

Macbeth's conscience isn't necessarily responsible for Macbeth's evil, but it can be used as a beckon to explain how deep into true evil he becomes on his downward spiral leading to death. Banquo affects him but killing Macduff's entire family doesn't move him emotionally in the least. His evil clouds his moral beliefs as he dismisses his conscience by simply acting and not thinking:

"The castle of Macduff I will surprise;

Seize upon Fife; give to the edge o' the sword

His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls"(4.1.165-168)

In the original innocence of Macbeth the thought of murdering a family would be unthinkable, but the truly evil person he becomes commits the act with happiness know that there will be less to threaten his reign as king.

Macbeth is just like any normal individual in terms



Download as:   txt (5 Kb)   pdf (75 Kb)   docx (10.7 Kb)  
Continue for 3 more pages »
Only available on
Citation Generator

(2010, 10). Macbeth's Descent Into Evil. Retrieved 10, 2010, from's-Descent-Into-Evil/6143.html

"Macbeth's Descent Into Evil" 10 2010. 2010. 10 2010 <'s-Descent-Into-Evil/6143.html>.

"Macbeth's Descent Into Evil.", 10 2010. Web. 10 2010. <'s-Descent-Into-Evil/6143.html>.

"Macbeth's Descent Into Evil." 10, 2010. Accessed 10, 2010.'s-Descent-Into-Evil/6143.html.