Macbeth Sample Essay: Evil and Violence


Paragraph 2: Disease
Shakespeare's references to blood throughout the text give the play a morbid tone and assists in recognising the characters' malignant minds and their evil deeds.
Blood in a setting of violence is a symbol of danger and pain, reminiscent of death, disease and disintegration in all of Scotland: 
"Bleed, bleed, poor country... each new day a gash is added to her wounds".

Multiple references of blood in battle add to the disregard of human life - Macbeth's sword "smoked with bloody execution" despite his own "gashes that cry for help." Lady Macbeth looses her mind after her crimes, obsessing about blood on her hands: "Out, damn'd spot." The Witches are of indeterminate nature, monstrous in appearance: "You should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so."The description of the ingredients of the Witches' potion is a far cry from your chicken and vegetable... "Eye of newt... tongue of dog... liver of blaspheming Jew... nose of Turk... finger of birth-strangled babe" and so on. This is evidently used to create a liquid Frankenstein so sinister that the reader is instantly alerted that there is some real evil brewing in this play.

Paragraph 3: Nighttime

Darkness, nighttime and the colour black, referred to frequently heightens the atmosphere of evil. It is always at nighttime that the Witches, the "black and midnight hags," show their faces and act as "instruments of darkness." The reader instantly knows that the Witches are the embodiment of evil, temptation and betrayal, so black becomes the colour of evil and night - the time for it. Nighttime serves as the cover for Macbeth's murders. He pleads: "Stars, hide your fires! Let not the light see my black and deep desires." Lady Macbeth echoes this as she calls on the night for help: "Come, thick night, and pall the in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes." Most of the play is set at night time: it is only bright twice - when Duncan arrives at Inverness and when Macbeth is about to die. Both are events that antagonise Macbeth's evil plot.

Paragraph 4: Pathetic Fallacy
This closely relates to the changes in nature that occur along with the plays events and turns of atmosphere. On the night when Duncan was killed it was abnormally dark: "There's husbandry in heaven, their candles are all out."This unnatural occurrence corresponds to the "unnatural" killing of a rightful king. The order of things at the time hinged of a belief int he divine right of kings. Now that this has been the disrupted, there is an echoing upset in heaven itself.

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It is clear that the playwright has gone to great length to come up with some stomach turning sinister imagery. The underlying plot that is purely evil is well framed by this use of language. The reader can visualise, feel and hear the daggers chopping, enthralling, impaling, gashes, blood and body parts of dead babies transecting the dark as they are cut off, all topped with a touch of obsessive-compulsive behaviour and a thick highland accent - creating one of Shakespeare's most celebrated plays.

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