Macbeths are a classic example of the effects of evil in women. Lady Macbeth is an ambitious woman who encourages her husband to kill Duncan so that he can become king. She is also willing to do whatever it takes to further her husband’s career, including lying and murdering. This ultimately leads to her downfall, as she becomes consumed by guilt and madness.
Her actions have a profound effect on Macbeth, who is initially reluctant to kill Duncan. However, after being influenced by his wife, he eventually gives in to her demands. The murders that he commits weigh heavily on his conscience, and he descends into a state of paranoia and madness. In the end, both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are destroyed by the evil that they have unleashed.
We see Macbeth’s potential for good in his loyalty to Duncan and his remorse for killing him. ” Macbeth is not wholly evil; his basic goodness is still strong enough to feel guilt at the evil he had done, as well as a horror of further black deeds.” (Bradley 177). In this instance Macbeth’s conscience has been corrupted by the evil women in his life.
The three witches give Macbeth a false sense of security by telling him he will be safe until Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane castle. Lady Macbeth manipulates her husband by using reverse psychology on him when she says he is not man enough to kill Duncan. She planted the seed in his mind that maybe he was not brave enough. Macbeth is not able to think for himself and he succumbs to her wishes. Lady Macbeth does not stop there, she also dares him to kill Duncan while he is asleep in their home which Macbeth does.
“And our poor malice satisfies itself In what it works in, like the dyer’s hand.”(1.7.12-13). This quote by Macbeth shows that his evil actions have taken over him and he is comfortable with being evil. Macbeth has now become paranoid and suspicious of everyone around him because of the guilt he feels.
His trust level is at an all-time low, except for his wife. The irony here is that Macbeth should not trust his wife because she is the one that is responsible for his evil deeds. Macbeth’s decline into madness accelerates when he has Banquo killed and Macduff’s family killed.
“The years of Macbeth’s kingship were a nightmare.”(Boyce 391). Macbeth has now become a tyrannical ruler. The people are living in fear and there is no happiness left in Scotland. His actions have finally caught up to him and Macbeth meets his demise at the hands of Macduff. The moral of this story is that evil will always catch up to you in the end. The women in Macbeth’s life were the catalyst for his downfall. Without their influence, Macbeth would have never become the monster he did.
If it were not for the witches and his wife, Macbeth would not have considered murdering Duncan. Man has been corrupted by woman throughout history. We see an example of this in the story of Adam and Eve. “.. she took of the fruit thereof, and ate it; and she gave it to her husband, saying: ‘What is it?’ ” (Genesis 3.6). Eve misled Adam out of fear. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the witches succumb to avarice, corrupting Macbeth.
Women have always been associated with evil. In many cultures, women are seen as the weaker sex and are therefore not to be trusted. This is especially true in Macbeth, where the witches are able to easily deceive Macbeth. They play on his ambition and desire for power, which leads him down a dark path.
Lady Macbeth is also a key player in Macbeth’s downfall. She is much more ambitious than her husband and encourages him to kill Duncan so that he can become king. She even goes so far as to plan out the murder and provides him with the daggers. Lady Macbeth’s ambition and thirst for power is what ultimately destroys her husband.
While it is clear that women are associated with evil in Macbeth, it is important to note that Macbeth is not entirely blameless. His own ambition and desire for power are what allow him to be manipulated by the witches and his wife. If he had not been so eager for power, he may have never killed Duncan and plunged Scotland into turmoil. In the end, Macbeth’s downfall is due to his own actions as well as the influence of the women around him.
Lady Macbeth’s decisions are comparable to those of the witches. The witches instilled the notion in Macbeth that he should be king. Lady Macbeth followed through with this plan by pushing Macbeth to murder Duncan. To cram her with cruelty from top to toe, she called on the weird sisters, who answered her call “like a pair of angry nightingales” (Bloom 29). Shakespeare apparently used the witches’ symbol as a metaphor for evil in Lady Macbeth.
Lady Macbeth’s success as a temptress is due in part to Macbeth’s own weakness. Macbeth is not evil like his wife, but he is weak. From the beginning of the play, Macbeth is easily controlled by others. When Duncan names his son Malcolm as heir to the throne, Macbeth immediately falls into Lady Macbeth’s trap: “The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be / Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see” (1.7.54-55). Macbeth does not want to kill Duncan, but he knows that he must if he wants to become king himself. In this way, Macbeth is controlled by his own ambition, as well as by his wife
While Macbeth’s initial hesitation to kill Duncan shows that he is not innately evil, his eventual willingness to commit murder reveals the corrupting influence of power. Macbeth’s power lust is stirred by the witches’ predictions and by Lady Macbeth’s urgings, but it is his ownambition that makes him act on these impulses.
Macbeth’s tragic flaw is his ambition; once he has decided to kill Duncan, there is no turning back. From this point onward, Macbeth becomes increasingly ruthless in his quest for power. He murders Duncan, banishes Banquo, and kills Macduff’s family. Macbeth’s increasing violence and cruelty are a direct result of his loss of morality.
The witches and Lady Macbeth are not the only evil forces at work in Macbeth. Shakespeare also suggests that the political turmoil of the time is a result of evil taking root in the country. In Macbeth, Scotland is in a state of chaos and disorder. Duncan’s rule is threatened by rebellious nobles, and there is a sense that the natural order has been disturbed.
This feeling is echoed in Macbeth’s famous soliloquy: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair / Hover through the fog and filthy air” (1.1.12-13). Macbeth’s world has been turned upside down; what was once good is now evil, and vice versa. This confusion is a direct result of the corrupting influence of evil in the country.
The witches, Lady Macbeth, and the political turmoil of the time all contribute to Macbeth’s downfall. Macbeth is not innately evil, but he is weak-willed and easily influenced by others. The corrupting influence of power leads him to commit murder and other atrocities. In the end, Macbeth is destroyed by his own ambition and thirst for power.