Macbeth was basically a good man lead into evil ways.

Essay by Claire_n February 2004

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The statement 'Macbeth was basically a good man led into evil ways' is one I agree with, to a certain extent. His evilness certainly progressed throughout the play, but his influences from the witches and Lady Macbeth and degree of goodness at the start is debatable. I shall also discuss the reasons for his destruction, which ties in the plays themes - for example ambition, order and disorder and guilt and conscience.

The play opens with a scene of disorder - lightning and a coven of witches. This really sets the scene for the rest of the play. The disorder finally reflects on Macbeth, therefore leading to his destruction. When we watch the first scene we wonder how big a part the witches will play and how influential they will be. At the end of the scene we know that they are going to meet Macbeth and we are anxious to know what is going to happen to him.

We also know that they are evil creatures and they intend to play around, their final words leave us with a feeling of uncertainty and disbelief;

'Fair is foul, and foul is fair,

Hover through the fog and filthy air.'

The audience asks themselves what does this mean? Can good be bad? These words sum up a lot of the play; the good can be bad and vice versa. 'Hover through the fog and filthy air' tell us that the play will be evil and full of cunning schemes and dirty tricks. It is also wondered why Shakespeare didn't introduce Macbeth in the first scene, as the play is entitled after his name. However, Shakespeare's use of the witches in the first scene emphasises how influential they are. By going against the expected, the audience becomes more afraid of...