Good and Evil in Humanity and Macbeth
A major component of all human societies has been the existence of religion. In all of these religions the concepts of good and evil have been present. The reason for this is because man has constantly been in a struggle with internal and external pressures about the intentions of his actions either good or bad. Pressures have been given different names throughout history. These range from vices, temptation, morals, sins, conscience and goals. They can be either good or bad and can be exerted on an individual from others (external) or from within (internal). One play that examines the issue of external and internal pressures on an individual and his actions is William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. One particular episode that reflects the intent of the play is when the title character kills the King of Scotland in order to become king himself. Shakespeare concludes that both external and internal pressures have forced Macbeth to act evilly. As both options (good and evil) are available for mankind and there are numerous examples of both being done, then it must be concluded that the choice of evil is not non-existent nor rare, but rather frequent. Therefore, through the murder of Duncan, Macbeth
Macbeth becomes a bloodthirsty tyrant, "Hang all those who talk of fear"18, who is described as a "butcher"19. These internal pressures battle with guilt for Macbeth"tms subsequent actions. These include paranoia, "Thou hast harp"tmd my fear aright!"14; and jealousy and insecurity, ""Our fears in Banquo stick deep, and in his royalty of nature reigns that which would be fear"tmd""15. Macbeth"tms guilt, for this and his later murder of Banquo, are symbolised by the appearance of the bloodied ghost of Banquo at Macbeth"tms dinner party. Duncan, King of Scotland, whose status would cause the audience to give his opinion the most weight, describes Macbeth"tms character three times in Act One. Finally Macbeth comes under pressure from an internal influence. "23Thus Macbeth is now fully identified as being evil by the audience. Thus the audience has a clear picture in their mind of the good nature of Macbeth by the end of Act One. This is evidenced by the fact that there were 49 cases of athletes caught with illegal drugs in the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympic Games. Contemporary audiences would feel the same way. Malcolm, Act Five, Scene Seven, Line 102 . Duncan, Act One, Scene Four, Line 587. Macbeth, Act Four, Scene One, Line 7415. However, he does not reign with goodness but rather commits evil acts.