Evil Vs Villainy In Macbeth

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From the beginning of Macbeth to the end, the influences of evil have tremendous effects on the characters of the play. Some characters such as Banquo recognize and are terrified by the the dangers of these evil influences and keep away from them, while others give into the evil’s supposed, promising rewards and lead themselves down a path of villainy. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth exhibit characteristics of villainy, however one proves worse through murderous actions and internal state of heart prior to death. In regard to evil, in many ways Macbeth and Lady Macbeth remain “exactly in tune with one another” throughout the play (Chapman 151). Both of them do not want to wait for the future and hastily attempt to…show more content…
In the moments leading to her death, Lady Macbeth begins sleepwalking and experiencing restlessness–her body’s way of expressing outwardly the great guilt that she feels within. Her constant motion of “washing her hands” at this time further exhibits that she feels guilty and desires to pay for the deceit and evil she has inflicted (5.1.20). In many regards, Lady Macbeth’s ultimate act of suicide is “an act of repentance” where she shows sincere remorse for her vile deeds (Sentov). Macbeth, however, becomes so engrossed in “the apathy of joyless crime” that he hardly mourns the loss of his wife (Hazlitt 174). While Lady Macbeth dies in guilt and repentance, Macbeth dies in selfish submission to evil, fighting with what little he has left to retain for himself the throne. Just before his murder, Macbeth declares to Macduff that he will not give up and will fight to the end, indicating that he does not die in guilt but rather in trying to satisfy his evil desires (5.8.32-33). When compared to Lady Macbeth’s remorseful attitude prior to death, Macbeth’s unrelenting behavior supersedes in level of villainy. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth both display villainy in that they choose the path of evil and deceit to gratify their desire to seize the throne. Lady Macbeth puts on a fierce and intimidating front but proves incapable of the egregious act of murder. Macbeth, however, actually commits murder and determines to do any vile deed to fight for the crown. He holds this disposition even until the point of death, unlike Lady Macbeth who dies repentant. Macbeth’s murderous actions and attitude prior to death ultimately demonstrate that he is the worse villain of the

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