Is Macbeth A Motivation For Evil

Better Essays
The Motivation Behind Evil Throughout history, the concept of evil has been questioned and challenged by many. Philosophers, authors, and psychologists have tried to determine what evil is through literature and experiences. In British literature, stories such as Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and Macbeth attempt to show the human concept of evil. These stories provide characters and circumstances to describe the motivations behind performing evil acts.
Although there are many different theories about where evil comes from and why evil acts are committed, it is agreed that evil, in fact, exists within all humans. According to Thomas Hobbes, evil is defined by an individual’s own perceptions and morals. The human feelings that push toward evil, as argued by Jean-Jacques Rousseau, are awakened by the outside world. However, professor and author C. Fred Alford says that the underlying cause of evil is one’s own greed and selfish desires. Thus, evil is defined by society’s changing perspectives; what is evil to some may not be evil to others. For example, the monster Grendel is not evil, but is perceived as an evil creature by the humans. Outward influences, such as the dragon in the novel
…show more content…
As a woman, she is seen as weak and dependent. However, Lady Macbeth is actually the stronger willed character. She, while not the dominating motivation for Macbeth’s wrongdoings, corrupts him and convinces him that he is capable of doing these evil things. Lady Macbeth’s influence on Macbeth comes from her own selfishness. She wants to be queen above all else, which drives her to commit murder. Fred Alford’s theory is exemplified in Lady Macbeth, because it was her lust for power that led to her evil doings. While Lady Macbeth wishes to get rid of the world’s perspective of evil, she is driven to insanity by her guilty conscience. Thus, Lady Macbeth held a perspective of evil that was consistent with society’s
Get Access