May 11, 2012
Kurtz vs. Macbeth: The Final Throwdown
Over the course of the semester, we have been discussing the concepts of identity, initiation, and moral fiber. The characters Macbeth and Kurtz in Macbeth and Heart of Darkness, respectively, prove to be excellent examples of these traits. Macbeth and Kurtz share many common characteristics: both are viewed as positive characters in the beginning of their stories but end up being evil, both commit horrendous acts, and both end up losing all moral fiber. On the other hand, these two characters are not exactly the same. The authors portray them in two different manners, Macbeth as the main character and Kurtz as a sort of demi-god that is only learned about by word of mouth rather than first hand events. Through studying both of these characters, we can learn who is the greater of the two evils.
Macbeth started out in Macbeth as the Thane of Glamis, fighting in battle for his homeland, Scotland. At the very beginning of the play, the reader gets a very positively lit view of Macbeth. He has become victorious in battle and is going to be rewarded with a promotion by King Duncan. All of the characters in the play saw Macbeth as a hero, not a villain. As the story progressed, however, Macbeth became much darker as his ambition overran his sense of morality. After he had committed his first murder, Macbeth’s peers began to have a sense of mistrust for him. As time went on, this mistrust grew larger and larger to the point of rebellion in the form of mutiny. Macbeth was killed and the people around him no longer viewed it as a tragedy because Macbeth had given into the darkness.
There were many forces that influenced Macbeth’s decision to commit his evil deeds. In the beginning, Macbeth’s only force that dictated his actions was the love for his country. He was a very moral character. As soon as he met the witches, however, that all changed. Macbeth had traded a...