Macbeth - Macbeth is a Statement of Evil

Discuss "Macbeth is a statement of evil" (L.C Knights) Do you consider this a fair summary of the play?

The character Macbeth is portrayed by Shakespeare as the larger view of evil?s operation in the world. Shakespeare accomplishes this by using a powerful and unsuspecting character such as Macbeth. The audience sees how evil, tempts Macbeth. Furthermore the use of messages addressing to or addressed by, how evil Macbeth is. The Evil inside Macbeth is quite evident; for he commits several murders. Finally, there are certain analogies, which suggest that Macbeth is comparable to Satan.

Shakespeare intended on using a hero of good deeds such as Macbeth, as his figure. He is seen as a good advocate of Satan?s evil conduct: for an evil person is one you least expect. Macbeth starts off as a humble man and a saviour of his native soil. After returning from a heroic victory, Ross, a noble Thane, describes what a significant officer Macbeth is for his kingdom:

"The king hath happily received, Macbeth, The news of thy success; and when he reads Thy personal venture in the rebel?s fight, His wonders and his praises do contend Which should be thine or his. Silenced with that, In viewing o?er the rest o?th? selfsame day, He finds thee in the stout Norweyan ranks, Nothing afeard of what thyself didst make, Strange images of death. As thick as hail Came post with post, and every one did bear Thy praises in his kingdom?s great defence, And poured then down before him."

Macbeth, like any other man, had succumbed to some form of temptation. Shakespeare utilizes him as a model, to show how no matter how strong you may be; even the strongest man can be taken in by evil. When Macbeth came across three witches [I.iii], was tempted by evil, then fell for it. His character, being a solid and heroic one, becomes severed off from his men and his creator [God] for the point that he reached out to evil. Macbeth saw how the only way he could become king, was alternatively taking his own path away from that of God [betraying God, who wrote that his destiny was not to become a king], with the help of Satanic or evil forces to accomplish his inner most desire. The audience sees how a devilish Macbeth is automatically broken off the path of God, as the witches discussed his position as the bearer of the throne. He hangs on every word like a hawk, and then asks for more and more information. From this point forward, his little devil inside is needed to accomplish a milestone task [the task of regicide and upheaval against the King].

"Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more. By Sinel?s death I know I am Thane of Glamis, But how of Cawdor? The thane of Cawdor lives, A prosperous gentleman; and to be king Stands not within the prospects of belief, No more than to be Cawdor. Say from whence You owe this strange intelligence?"

To make the testimonial about the deceptive nature of evil, Shakespeare works onto the texture of his play, with the theme of appearance versus reality. The audience is lead to believe that Macbeth is a kind man, but in fact is not. There is always perplexity and doubt in the appearance of evil, darkness rather than light, never clear, rational confidence which is in Macbeth's opening remark: "So foul and fair a day I have not seen" [I.iii.38]. Lady Macbeth tells her husband to "look like the innocent flower?But be the serpent under?t" [I.v.65-6]. Macbeth himself acknowledges, "False face must hide what the false heart doth know" [I.vii.82]. Macduff is also quoted in saying what an evil man Macbeth is: "Not in legions Of horrid hell can come a devil more damned In evil to top Macbeth" [IV.iii.56-58] All of these instances show that Macbeth is an evil man.

Macbeth is no way a God-sent. Only an evil man such as Macbeth could cross the line of sanity. He killed his own king. He also killed Banquo. He was a conspirator to the setting up of the guards, with the murder of Duncan. Macbeth had crossed that line several times. A sane or non-evil person would never have crossed that line in killing so many beings. Only an evil person can carry out