The Battle Between Good And Evil In Shakespeare's Othello

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Shakespeare’s ability to illustrate the battle between good and evil is arguably one of his best skills as a writer. Incorporating the art of the morality play, he shows the battle of these two forces for a man’s soul. But the beauty of his writing comes to light in how he shows this process. In both Macbeth and Othello, Shakespeare portrays evil as corrupting, while the source of evil differs.
The religious preferences and philosophy of the English Renaissance affected Shakespeare’s writing. The battle for a man’s soul comes from the Christian idea of God in heaven conflicting with Satan in the world. Shakespeare views evil as more than only bad deeds; it breaks the holy order that God instituted to hold the universe together (Miller). Expanding
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Virtuous characters lose their battles with evil, which does not appear in the human antagonist form (Miller). Revisiting the philosophy of Aquinas, he believed that humans have the potential to reflect the aspects of God or ignore that potential and reflect personal desires. Without any aspects of God, a human becomes nothing. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth find themselves with the potential to acquire a position of royalty, but instead of operating through God’s desires, they immediately turn to evil methods to obtain these positions (Tufts). Lady Macbeth says Macbeth becoming king is “the ornament of life” (1.7.42), and her ambition causes her to do anything to achieve it at the slightest possibility. This includes sexual taunting by saying Macbeth would not be a true man if he did not pursue their dreams relentlessly. After much time partaking in sinful actions, Lady Macbeth starts to fade into the nothingness described by Aquinas. She begins sleepwalking and recognizing her own personal guilt in the deaths of Duncan and Banquo. Eventually, she falls so deep into oblivion that she has no desire to live anymore. The same occurs with Macbeth, but his nothingness presents itself in his senseless killing and lack of empathy

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