Macbeth Sample Essay: Atmosphere of Evil

The language of the play “Macbeth” contributes to the creating of the atmosphere of evil and violence which pervades the play.

Discuss this statement with reference to the play.

Essay titles referring to things such as the powerful vision of evil, the play having many scenes of compelling drama can all be added to from this. You may also like: Full Notes on Macbeth (€)


In "Macbeth" Shakespeare wished to create for his audience a dark and violent world inhabited by malevolent characters who perform dastardly deeds upon one another. The language of the play, to an enormous extent, assists in the creation of an evil and violent atmosphere which permeates the entire play.

Paragraph 1: Violence

There is a great deal of violent language in the "Macbeth". The Witches, sinister by defintion, feature in the opening scene of the play. In the next scene, we encounter a graphic discussion of the battle between the Scottish King and his attendants. Here we see some gruesome descriptions of brutal warfare, e.g."till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops, / And fixed his head upon our battlements.” Not only does this create a general atmosphere of evil, but also assists the reader in understanding the personality of the main character, Macbeth, who is simply bound to be evil judging by these references. Macbeth's inner deterioration is emphasised by the numerous murders he rushes into after assuming power. The cold irony of the murderer's words regarding Banquo, "safe in the ditch he bides, with twenty trenched gashed on his head", is striking and very convincing of Macbeth's evil character.
Macbeth Sample Essay: Atmosphere of Evil
Anne Doyle as Lady Macbeth in "Macbeth"by CyclonePhotographer: Twisted Vision Video

Paragraph 2: Lady Macbeth and violence

We also meet one of literature’s most memorable female characters, Lady Macbeth. The language she uses serves a similar purpose to that of the King's attendants, but it is even more horrifying coming from a woman. She rejects the softness usually attributable to women, in fact she belittles empathy as "the milk of human kindness." Instead she wishes to be poisonous and cruel: "Unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top full of direst cruelty… Come to my woman's breasts, and take my milk for gall." Lady Macbeth wants to be more masculine, but we soon find out that she is not that mellow in any case. In her eyes, Macbeth is cowardly and she feels she has to guide him in order to move forward with their horrific plan. To emphasise her point she illustrates it with an action she would take on her own baby had she been stopped while being as determined to succeed as she is now: "I would, while it was smiling at my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and dashed the brains out." This is only a metaphor, but the effect that the language has on the readers' perception is immense.


Macbeth Sample Essay Imagery
Marcus Bale as Macbeth by CyclonePhotographer: Twisted Vision Video

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