Help with Essay on the Nature of Evil in MacbethIn Macbeth Shakespeare presents us with a powerful vision of evil.With this as my essay thesis, which characters should I talk about? Should I...
In Macbeth Shakespeare presents us with a powerful vision of evil.
With this as my essay thesis, which characters should I talk about? Should I mention the witches? How about other characters that could represent evil?
What a great thesis for an essay! There are numerous characters in Macbeth that can be described as evil. The most obvious one is Macbeth himself who fulfills the witches prophesy, no matter what the reason, by killing Duncan. Murder and ambition are enough to constitute evil, if you ask me. The witches, of course, run a close second. If it weren't for their prophesy, would Macbeth have even considered murder? Would he even be capable of "vaulting ambition"? Perhaps not. However, don't discount the evil of Lady Macbeth (one of my favorite villains of all time). Here is a woman who is set on convincing her husband again and again to commit murder, even when he feels unsure of it himself. Be sure to check out the enotes character analysis for help with these characters and their evil natures. (I have included reference links below.)
If I may make a suggestion, you might also want to take a look at the imagery of Macbeth in order to support your thesis about nature and evil.
There are several vibrant and intriguing uses of nature imagery in Macbeth and most are used in relation to the duplicity of people; the concept of "Fair is foul and foul is fair" (1:1.11).
For example, Lady Macbeth encourages her husband to "Look like th' innocnet flower,/But be the serpent under't" (1:7.65-6). There is also the issue of Duncan's horses, calm and beautiful creatures, becoming wild shortly after thieir master's murder (2:4.14-17). There are other instances in which nature imagery is used to show how there are two sides to man, good and evil. Perhaps this can help with your essay.
I think the witches are there mostly as a metaphor for evil rather than an evil influence themselves. Macbeth is evil enough without them. They are an excuse for his actions, but only to a certain extent. The witches are just prompting him to use what he has already.