Euripides’ classic “Medea” is well known for being one of the first texts in literary history to have a female as its main character. However, it is infamous amongst readers, especially certain feminists, as the text that displays women as mad, hysterical, and irrational. When reading the text, many are taken aback due to Medea’s shockingly brutal actions throughout the play. She is depicted as a brutish murderer who possesses no limits. Her actions range from murdering royals to committing infanticide.
It shows how badly Lady Macbeth is trying to persuade him to turn his loyalty away from Kind Duncan. Lady Macbeth is smart enough to manipulate him when he is struggling. By manipulating Macbeth to achieve her evil desires, it shows that she is an evil
Known for her way with words of manipulation and famed by her sinister masterminding of great King’s Duncan’s murder, her legacy was one that took a cold dark turn; when her nearly in-existent conscience embarks her on a slow and perilous descend into hysteria, and ultimately her demise. Her dark journey begins when the prophesized prediction of three witches spark an overpowering ambition that would soon become an obsession. Her uncontrollable desire to attain the throne made her begin scheming a plot to ensure the prophecy becomes true and by which she would attain her life’s ambition. From the moment she heard of witches’ prophecies she lived her life with the sole purpose of attaining the position of power. For that she was willing to go to great ends; doing anything and everything it took to achieve this ambition.
Deception, by its definition is known as an immoral deed, a one-dimensional act that conceals the truth. This statement however, with regards to Shakespeare’s plays proves to be false. The act of deception can be both for the good and bad. The reasons or intentions one could deceive another can be out of necessity as like Rosalind and Celia from As You Like It, Rosalind’s need to hide her gender in order to stay alive in the Forest of Arden. Or like in Othello deception can be used as a manipulative tool to catalyse pure evil, shown through the character of Iago.
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.
Thus, by contrasting demonic imagery with Othello’s true nature, Shakespeare develops the theme of how impressions can be deceptive. This is further emphasized by Brabantio’s impressions of Othello. After Othello’s noble nature is first revealed to the audience, he politely addresses Brabantio, stating “Good signior, you shall more command with years/Than with your weapons” (I.ii.___). Brabantio responds insultingly, utilizing hellish imagery when addressing Othello, stating “Damn'd as thou art, thou hast enchanted her” (I.ii.___). In this scene, the demonic imagery Brabantio uses serves as a harsh contrast between his impression of Othello as “Damn’d” and Othello’s actual calm and noble nature.
Although it is ambition which leads Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to commit the murder of Duncan, it is not an ambition but fear that is analyzed in Macbeth. Fear is one of a pair of passions, Shakespeare has painted this passion against the background of its opposite which is courage. Just as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ sounds its love-hate theme at the beginning, as Hamlet stresses the joy-grief pair of passion. And as Othello develops the love -hatred relationship, so Macbeth develops the theme of fear against the background of courage. And is not an ordinary courage that we have here but an extraordinary courage or audacity or rashness; and this kind of courage must be regarded as a defect because it represents the excess of true fortitude.
(Macbeth 1.7.54-59) The above mentioned statement is good enough for the readers or viewers of the play to label Lady Macbeth as an evil woman who will murder anyone, even her own child, to get ahead. This perversion of one of the most sacred acts of motherhood enhances the horror of the length she would cross to achieve her goal. However, it also implies that considering Lady Macbeth as merely a brutal, malicious woman
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