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Conflict can tear things apart, and that’s exactly what it does in the play ‘Macbeth’. The function of conflict in the play ‘Macbeth’ by William Shakespeare reinforces the themes good versus evil, evil ambition and inner conflict. Macbeth experiences conflicts within himself. He undergoes the most obvious conflict before, during, and after killing King Duncan. An example of how Macbeth experiences the conflict before he kills Duncan is when he questions himself if he needs to kill Duncan,”if chance will have me king, why chance may crown me, without my stir”.
This shows that Macbeth is questioning himself and is conflicting with his good intentions and his evil ambition. It also shows that he does not wish to kill Duncan if there is no need and would like to find any other way of reaching the throne. This portrays to the reader that Macbeth is good at heart and is not an evil character. An example of Macbeth conflicting within himself whilst he is killing Duncan is at the moment he could not say amen, “but wherefore could not I pronounce amen”.
This shows that Macbeth is conflicting with his faith and within himself as he undergoes the change from being a kind and valiant man to a nervous and evil person. This dialogue of Macbeth’s also shows how he has accepted the vices of evil because amen is a holy thing to say and evil people never say it. Not being able to pronounce amen is also ironic as the king was meant to be god’s representative on earth, if Macbeth is to be king it is ironic that he cannot pronounce a holy word.
One last example of Macbeth’s inner conflict is after he has killed Duncan, “stept in so far that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as going o’er”. This quote highlights Macbeth’s conflicts within himself. It shows that he does not know whether he has made the right choice killing the king. It also shows that he is un-decided whether he should try return to the path of good, or accept evil and continue down its dark road.
These examples show how Macbeth’s conflicts reinforce the themes inner conflict and good versus evil and how Macbeth’s evil ambition wins over him. Good versus evil is a theme that is also reinforced through conflict in the play Macbeth. Macduff’s and Macbeth’s relationship is the most evident example of this. Once Macbeth killed King Duncan, he became evil and was an evil king, and Macduff was seen as the courageous hero. This is why the conflict between them reinforces the theme of good versus evil.
An example of how this conflict is shown is “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth”. This shows Macbeth is over zealous and does not have any fear for Macduff. It also shows how ignorant Macbeth has become because Macduff was “pulled from his mother’s womb untimely ripped”. Another example of the pair’s conflict is Macduff’s dialogue of “then yield thee, coward…. ’here you may see the tyrant’”. This shows how volatile the fight between them has become and how much Macduff hates Macbeth.
It alos shows how the other characters view Macbeth, as being a tyrant, an evil person and how they would want Macbeth to be treated like an animal for what he has done. This conflict embraces the theme of good versus evil and ultimately is prime example of good (Macduff) and evil (Macbeth). Another example of conflict in the play Macbeth is that between Macbeth himself and Lady Macbeth. The most obvious example of conflict between the pair is before Macbeth kills King Duncan. The quote that show this is “and live a coward in thine own esteem”.
This shows how Macbeth and Lady Macbeth conflict between each other on the decision of killing Duncan. Lady Macbeth is calling Macbeth a coward for not wanting to go through with the act but Macbeth believes there is another way. However Lady Macbeth regards her husband as being “too full o’th’milk of human kindness”, she takes advantage of Macbeth’s weaknes, kindness, and uses it to trick him into having more evil thoughts, this then is a building bloc on which Macbeth’s evil ambition is formed and takes the better of him when he ends up killing Duncan.
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This is another example of good versus evil within the play Macbeth. Some themes in the play Macbeth are expressed through conflicts. The conflicts explained above show how these themes are reinforced. Whether it be the inner conflicts of Macbeth or the conflict between him and his own wife, they all clearly express and reinforce a/some particular theme/s.
Author: Cari Minns
Macbeth Good Versus Evil Essay
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The notorious Shakespearean play Macbeth illustrates a natural evil and greed for power present in the human race. Even in modern times, society relates to Macbeth as people are consistently striving for a higher rank and power. Sometimes, people are even prepared to get into difficult situations to achieve their goals, and this gives rise to conflicts. There are three main types of conflict present in the Macbeth play: man vs man, man vs nature, and man vs self. The most prominent form of conflict in Macbeth is man vs man. Throughout most scenes, there are several conflicts between multiple characters. After Macbeth takes the throne, there are many people who are suspicious of him and want to do him harm. In response to these conflicts, Macbeth plots murders to kill anyone who gets in his way or threatens his power.
Macbeth exclaims; “The castle of Macduff I will surprise, / Seize upon Fife, give to th’ edge o’ th’ sword, / His wife, his babes, and all unfortunate souls / That trace him in his line” (Shakespeare IV, i, 171-174). Macbeth plans the murder of Macduff’s family purely because the Weird Sisters told him “Beware, Macduff!” (Shakespeare IV, i, 81). Macbeth’s logic in this plan is difficult to understand, but possibly by harming Macduff’s family, Macduff will be harmed through pain and despair. Macbeth also kills Banquo, who used to be a very good friend, just because he was worried that he might suspect something. “Safe in a ditch he bides, / With twenty trenches gashes on his head, / The least a death to nature” (Shakespeare III, iv, 28-30).
The evil acts Macbeth commits causes several of the characters to become anxious and gain suspicion of Macbeth. Apart from struggles with other people, Macbeth also has a hard time figuring out what he wants to do with his multiple situations. The man vs self conflict is most notably seen with Macbeth. He is easily influenced by his wife Lady Macbeth, and it seems as thought his character transforms and becomes more evil as the murders continue. Macbeth is very frustrated on what to do, as he discusses; “First, as I am his kinsmen and his subject / Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, / Who should against his murder shut the door, / Not bear the knife myself” (Shakespeare I, vii, 13-16). Macbeth is confused as he is arguing with himself on what he should do. He states reasons not to kill Duncan, because Macbeth is his noble kinsmen and the act would bring dishonor.
However, he also states reason why he should kill him, because Macbeth will then become king and fulfill the witches’ fortune. Lady Macbeth, who appears in the beginning as the driving force for the murder of King Duncan, also develops internal conflict. At first, Lady Macbeth seems to be a woman of extreme confidence and will. But, as situations become more and more unstable in the play, guilt develops inside her. For instance, she exclaims; “Wash your hands. Put on your nightgown. / Look not so pale. I tell you again, Banquo’s / Burried; he cannot come out on ‘s grave” (Shakespeare V, ii, 65-67). Lady Macbeth sleepwalks and frets about her evil wrongdoings because she is extremely guilty of her influence on Macbeth to commit the murder.
Lady Macbeth reacts emotionally and dwells on her actions as guilt eats at her soul. The final conflict seen in Macbeth is man vs nature. This conflict is not as well shown as the others but is still present. For example, when Macbeth commits his first unjustifiable murder of King Duncan, the land rebels. Huge storms arise, the grey clouds come out, and the animals even start eating each other. Traditionally, kings are directly related to their land and vice versa. When the king dies, the land gets upset and gloomy, as seen with the weather. The well known scandalous Shakespearean play Macbeth demonstrates an innate maliciousness and gluttony for authority existing in our human race. Even in present-day, the population connects with Macbeth as they are consistently working for a better position in society. Every now and then, individuals are even willing to put themselves into odd circumstances to reach their target, and this gives rise to disputes and conflict. Eventually, all is resolved with the death of Macbeth and the rise of Malcolm as King. The overall reason people study conflict is because conflict teaches everyone morals and life lessons. Through difficult and troublesome struggles, humans can learn and adapt to become more honorable and good people.