Discuss Macbeth's character to show the truth of the statement below:"In Macbeth, Shakespeare shows the essentially self- defeating character of evil, an unnatural striving to preserve itself by...

Discuss Macbeth's character to show the truth of the statement below:

"In Macbeth, Shakespeare shows the essentially self- defeating character of evil, an unnatural striving to preserve itself by destroying the roots of its own existence."

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The statement has much in way of relevance to Macbeth's character.  Try as he might to consolidate his power, Macbeth cannot surrender the basic sense of character he has.  He does a good job in trying to rid himself of it. Yet, the resignation he comes to in Act V, reflects this.  Macbeth understands through his own epiphanies that the witches meant something else, that he is not immortal, does not possess a power that can repel all forces.  This is brought out in his response to Lady Macbeth's death, a statement that rings of existential hollowness and a condition where redemption is impossible.  However, acknowledgement is still entirely evident.  Macbeth might continue the fight at this point, but he knows that his death is inevitable and the coveting that he so desired is something that has ended up spelling his own doom.  It is here where the quote is highly applicable.  The "unnatural" condition of evil is what compelled Macbeth to embrace what he did and to force a level of rejection of his own sense of dignity and character that in the end is acknowledged.  In doing so, Macbeth demonstrates that such an "unnatural striving" has choked the life of the "roots of its own existence." 

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