Evil in Macbeth

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In the play "Macbeth" by Shakespeare, the author explores the many forms of evil and in particular whether evil is from within or is brought to the surface due to the environment in which people live in. For example, Macbeth says "O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife." and this could mean that he was born with evil thoughts and an evil nature, or that someone (the "weird sisters" or witches) has planted them there. The seeds of evil, once planted, appear to be nurtured by Lady Macbeth and by Macbeth himself. It could be that he has damaged himself so that he is unable to feel empathy for others - or that the evil is innate. Macbeth displays some very evil characteristics - selfishness, coldness, obsession and cold-blooded murder. Shakespeare explores the degree to which he alone is responsible, and how far others contribute to
Macbeth is perhaps Shakespeare's greatest exploration of the problem of evil.

Evil is positioned both within and without. The witches are objective figures but Macbeth's first utterance in act 1, scene 3 suggests that he shares a similar thought with the witches. When he says that he has never seen such a fair and a foul day, he seems to echo the maxim of the witches--"Fair is foul foul is fair". This is before his encounter with the witches. As the fair-foul maxim goes, the play presents to us evil in all its shades--the mutually interchangeable nature of good and evil as a critique of the morality play simplicity of the divide. So, evil is not just supernatural, but human too.

The downward moral spiral that Macbeth enters could be seen as representing a strong statement about the nature of evil. Once Macbeth commits his first murder, Shakespeare points out that evil is all consuming and much more difficult to stop. There appears to be little that can restrain Macbeth from becoming increasingly evil. This could be seen as

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