Shakespeare's Macbeth - Macbeth’s Evil Essay

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Macbeth’s Evil

The Bard of Avon can scarcely be accused of a sanitized play in the tragedy of Macbeth. Rather it is saturated with evil in various forms.

Fanny Kemble in “Lady Macbeth” asserts that Lady Macbeth died as a result of her evil acts:

Lady Macbeth, even in her sleep, has no qualms of conscience; her remorse takes none of the tenderer forms akin to repentance, nor the weaker ones allied to fear, from the pursuit of which the tortured soul, seeking where to hide itself, not seldom escapes into the boundless wilderness of madness.

A very able article, published some years ago in the National Review, on the character of Lady Macbeth, insists much upon an opinion that she died of remorse, as
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The theme of the drama is the gradual ruin through yielding to evil within and evil without, of a man, who, though from the first tainted by base and ambitious thoughts, yet possessed elements in his nature of possible honor and loyalty. (792)

In “Macbeth as the Imitation of an Action” Francis Fergusson describes the evil course of action within the drama:

At this point there is the brief interlude with the Doctor. The king’s evil and its cure and the graces which hang about the English throne are briefly described. [. . .] It marks the turning point, and it introduces the notion of the appeal by faith to Divine Grace which will reverse the evil course of the action when Malcolm and Macduff learn to outrun reason in that way, instead of by responding to the Witches’ supernatural solicitations as Macbeth has done. (110)

The Tragedy of Macbeth opens in a desert place with thunder and lightning and three Witches who are anticipating their meeting with Macbeth, "There to meet with Macbeth." They all say together the mysterious and contradictory "Fair is foul, and foul is fair." King Duncan learns that "brave Macbeth" and Banquo are bravely resisting the "Norweyan banners" and the rebellious Thane of Cawdor. When these forces are vanquished, Duncan bids Ross to

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