Good And Evil In Macbeth And 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). Great medieval philosopher Thomas Aquinas described evil as the absence of all good (Tufts). Shakespeare expands on this idea by portraying villains as examples of evil rather than humans. These characters epitomize this by lacking certain emotions such as love, pain, or sympathy (Miller). One sees this in Othello when Iago is stabbed and begins dying, but feels no regret or pain and says “I bleed, sir, but not killed” (5.2.302). Shakespeare also forms his idea of evil around the thoughts of another great mind of his time, Augustine, who states that evil is “the privation of good… and can continue to the point where a thing ceases to exist altogether." This philosophy infiltrates Shakespeare’s works through the character Macbeth and his slow
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