Evil in Women and its Effect on Macbeth

Essay by Anonymous UserA+, April 1997

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'...My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man that function Is smother'd in surmise, and nothing is But what is not.' (1.3.140-143). Throughout Shakespeare's play, we see that Macbeth is the victim of evil seduction by women. In the above quote the evil is perpetrated by the witches. Lady Macbeth also plays a strong role in his moral corruption. '... the influence of Lady Macbeth (though she too has an inarticulate angel struggling against her own evil), and the instigation of a supernatural power all combine to crush his better nature.' (Boyce 391). Macbeth would not have even thought of killing Duncan, if it were not for the influence of the witches and his wife.

Historically, man has been corrupted by woman. Going back to the story of Adam and Eve, we see such an example. '.. she took of the fruit thereof, and she did eat it; and she gave it unto her husband...'

(Genesis 3.6). Eve, out of fear, beguiled Adam. In Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the witches, succumbing to greed, corrupted Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth's actions parallel those of the witches. The witches planted the idea that Macbeth should become king. Lady Macbeth followed through with this idea by pushing Macbeth to kill Duncan. '... a very definition of the weird sisters - calling on them to unsex her to cram her with cruelty from top to toe...' (Bloom 29). This quote illustrates the connection between Lady Macbeth and the witches, showing us that they both participated in Macbeth's moral decline. Shakespeare, it seems, utilizes the symbol of the witches to portray the basic evil inherent in Lady Macbeth. One could not have worked without the other. If it were only the witches' prophecies, then Macbeth would surely...