Nietzsche's Evil Theory

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Dante Cella
Ms. Herrera
AP English Period 07
December 13, 2015
Friedrich Nietzsche’s Theory of Evil and its Relation to British Literature

Throughout history there have been many proposed theories on evil. Many of these theories can be applied to evil and evil characters within British Literature. Nietzsche’s theory can be applied to many characters in British Literature such as Grendel, the Dragon from Grendel, Beowulf, and Macbeth. Nietzsche’s theory states that good and evil are concepts that are bad for society since it is all a matter of perspective. Nietzsche also went on to state that evil was made up by those who were not in power and used it to describe those who were in power that were “oppressing” them. He goes on to say that
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Thought Beowulf is perceived as a hero for good by the humans since he defeats all of the “evil” monsters, but to the monsters, Grendel, his mother, and the Dragon, he is seen as evil. The monsters perceive Beowulf as evil because they see through his good acts and realize that he does everything because he is greedy and only wants “immortality” through songs of the Shaper. The humans do not see this because their attention is going towards the fact that he took down the evil monsters. Beowulf’s evil can only be seen from Grendel’s and the dragon’s perspective. This shows the different side of how the perspective works since the majority of people see Beowulf as good rather than …show more content…
Macbeth becomes greedy, like Beowulf, when the three witches tell him his fortune. Instead of letting things go as they should naturally, Macbeth becomes anxious and tries to make the prophecy come true. Macbeth kills King Duncan so that he can become king. No one knows that Macbeth played a role in his death so he is viewed as a good, new king. Meanwhile he starts to feel guilty and somewhat evil. Later on in the story Macbeth plots the murder of Banquo whose sons were predicted to take over the throne after Macbeth. When he goes through with the murder it essentially drives him mad because of the heavy guilt and the evil he sees himself as. During all of this the people of Scotland think that Macbeth is a good king and they feel sorry for his loss. Eventually the word gets out that Macbeth killed King Duncan and Banquo, that’s when everyone’s perspective shifts from Macbeth being good to him being evil. This essentially shows that even though the people had a good perspective on Macbeth he would still see himself as evil because of his own perspective on his actions, proving Nietzsche’s

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