Human Nature Is Evil, And Goodness Is Caused By Intentional Activity

864 Words Nov 7th, 2015 4 Pages
Xun Zi said that, “Human nature is evil, and goodness is caused by intentional activity”. Macbeth displays the tendencies of human nature to be evil as well as the ways in which it attempts to be good. The author and playwright William Shakespeare, also uses character foil to show the extreme differences in morals, ambition, and the tendencies of human nature.

The characters Macbeth and Banquo personify the ambiguity of good and evil. They are both portrayed as ambitious men, but as the play progresses only one is consumed by his ambition and the temptations of power. Banquo is a foil to Macbeth because he resists his egocentric ambitions and instead chooses to honor his country. Macbeth on the other hand becomes consumed in the witch’s prophecy. Banquo’s ethical traits highlight the less attractive traits of Macbeth. Previous to the prophecies of the Weird Sisters Macbeth was a war hero, he was valiant, noble, and deserving of his new title. This shows that Macbeth was not always evil, but the corruption of power and his own ambition caused him to become evil. Macbeth wondered after hearing the prophecy, “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man. That function is smother’d in surmise, and nothing is but what is not” (1.3.52-55). In this quote Macbeth is talking about the murder of Duncan, which has not yet happened and, the prophecies, which have not yet been confirmed to be truthful. Once Macbeth obtains the…

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