preview

Darkness And Evil In Macbeth

Good Essays
Wicked desires cause people to go to any extreme to get what they want and often cause destruction. In the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, this is the case for the main characters and evil is a predominant theme. Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare leads the plot into dark scenes with the copious amounts of murder, witchcraft and evil desires of the characters. In the play, the character, Lady Macbeth hears the prophecy from three witches that her husband will be king. Quickly, she decided to take matters into her own hands; however, it ends up leading her husband, Macbeth, down an immoral path of destruction. Becoming a tyrant, he is not able to control his power and Lady Macbeth becomes overcome by the encumbrance. Darkness covers the town…show more content…
For example, in the silence and darkness of night, after Macbeth kills Duncan and Lady Macbeth frames the guards, she states, “My hands are of your color, but I shame to wear a heart so white,”(2.2.61-62). Saying that her hands were of his color means that her hands were covered in blood, an ubiquitous image that is used multiple times throughout the play. Notably, blood is connected to death and darkness, especially throughout Macbeth. The blood contributes to the evil theme and creates a dark tone; therefore, causing Lady Macbeth to be seen as evil. Along with the blood connection, the fact that she told macbeth that she would be ashamed if her heart was white (weak) as his reveals her desire to be strong. This creates the image portraying her heart as dark or evil. Deep inside, she is shown as being a wicked character. At the same time, Lady Macbeth can be seen as an angel through the imagery Shakespeare conveys at the end of the play when she sleepwalks; “It is an accustomed action with her to seem thus washing her hands,”(5.1.24-25). Simply, the action of washing her hands shows the guilt and how the goodness inside wants to cleanse her depravity. Washing, an image that can connect to being clean or pure, connects to the way angels are; therefore, creating a bridge between Lady macbeth and an angel. In the end, the imagery that Shakespeare uses to depict Lady Macbeth as…show more content…
Living during the Elizabethan age, Shakespeare experienced the reign of Elizabeth I as the Queen of England. Under those circumstances he would have seen the Queen in power and not conforming to the normal gender roles. For example, Jane Dall discusses how Queen Elizabeth strived to gain her own power by transcending the gender roles in her article, "The Stage and the State: Shakespeare's Portrayal of Women and Sovereign Issues in Macbeth and Hamlet." Dall quotes Wallace MacCaffrey’s biography on Elizabeth I, “For a woman the demands made on the occupant of the throne were supremely difficult to meet, since the characteristic qualities which a monarch was expected to display were largely masculine.” Revealing that the qualities that were looked for in a monarch were largely masculine, shows that Shakespeare would have seen the Queen’s necessary defiance of gender roles and conveyed this through his character Lady Macbeth. In his play, Shakespeare portrays Lady Macbeth as a strong, powerful woman who resists the normal gender roles. In one case, she talked to spirits when contemplating the murder of King Duncan. While doing so, she urged, “Come, you evil spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here…” (1.5.41-42). Markedly, Lady Macbeth is shown here in this dark scene, asking to be less like a woman; therefore, defying gender roles because
Get Access