Comparing Evil In Macbeth And John Milton's Paradise Lost

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Choosing Evil Paradise Lost by John Milton and William Shakespeare’s Macbeth are two literary works that follow two leading characters as they walk down destructive paths. In the former, a man obtains the Scottish throne by means of prophecies and bloodshed, while the latter recounts the journey of Satan from Heaven to Hell. Despite being set in different time periods and environments, there are distinct similarities in the structure of both works, the most noticeable being the lives of the two main characters. Since Satan traditionally embodies the darker portion of human nature, it shows in the similarities between Macbeth and Satan. Both desire a throne that does not belong to them and are driven by jealous ambition. However Satan falls …show more content…

Macbeth is described as a valiant fighter and King Duncan says, “noble Macbeth hath won,” the title of Thane (Shakespeare 1.2.68). However, after the three witches prophesize “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (1.3.51), Macbeth goes against the King and begins his bloody quest for the throne, fueled by his wife and supporters, engaging in reckless killings of other potential heirs to the throne. As hallucinations plague him, his mental state slowly deteriorated, and he was taken over because he ended up a horribly ambitious ruler who only wanted power. Similarly, Satan was also previously known as a great angel in Heaven before he led a rebellion against God. His followers were the lesser demons, followed him as they fell from Heaven and suffered losses alongside him. Like Macbeth, when met with certain defeat he declares that it is “Better to reign in Hell than serve in Heaven”, showing a stubbornness that is borderline delusional (Milton 1.263). As Macbeth was driven by jealousy for the power of the Crown, Satan became jealous of God’s son, Jesus, which further fueled his desire to spite

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