An analysis of the central conflict in Macbeth

The play Macbeth is renowned for the conflicts; not only between the characters themselves, but also between the forces of good and evil. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are antitheses of each other: Macbeth moves from being the good subject of King Duncan to his murderer, while Lady Macbeth has evil intentions, but becomes good at the end. The central conflict of the play Macbeth is about the struggle between good and evil.

Two main events happen in the play Macbeth. There are two parts to the play; a good side and a bad, which in the film the characters show incredibly well. This was clear when Lady Macbeth tried to convince Macbeth to commit the murder of Duncan “I am in blood, stepp’d in so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go’er” (Act 3, Scene 4). In this quote Macbeth is speaking. Lady Macbeth is with him but I don’t think he is actually talking to her. Macbeth is very confused,frantic and paranoid. He just saw Banquo’s ghost and ruined his banquet by showing his insanity to his guests.  The good side is shown by the happy events where there is no killing or fighting. For example in the beginning of the play, Macbeth and Duncan were not against each other.  On the other hand, the bad side features lots of gruesome killing, death and signs of evil activity. For example, the bad sign are bats and the dark “Is this a dagger which I see before me” (Act 2, Scene 1, line 33). On the other hand, the good side has signs like love, peace, and sunlight. “The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan

Under my battlements. Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here.” (Act 1, Scene 5).

Macbeth is the evil person who learns to kill easily. Macbeth is a character in the play that quickly develops a hobby of killing people. He wants to kill Duncan who is the king so that Macbeth can become the monarch. Macbeth is very confident in killing Duncan but when gets nervous Lady Macbeth convinces him to kill. Half way through the play Macbeth kills Duncan in his castle and quickly kills the two guards who were guarding Duncan. He had no fear in killing Duncan and was not worried because Lady Macbeth encouraged him. Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to not kill Duncan because then if he does there will be blood and everyone would be frightened and make a huge hassle about it.

“O, my offense is rank, it smells to heaven,
It hath the primal eldest curse upon’t—
A brother’s murder. Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will”. (Act 3, Scene 3, lines 36-39).

Lady Macbeth helps Macbeth by encouraging him to not give up and kill Banquo.

Duncan is the good king who rules fairly. There are other characters who are also good; Macduff, Malcolm, Donalbain and Banquo. Duncan is a character in the play that is not as certain as Macbeth is to killing. He is not a person who likes to kill people; he is a friendly type of person. Macbeth is Duncan’s cousin and wants to kill Duncan. He is the king of Scotland, who is sensitive, generous and insightful. “Better, be with the dead than on the torture of the mind to lie in restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave. After life’s fitful fever, he sleeps well. Treason has done his worst. Nor steel, nor poison, malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing can touch him further.”#.  In the play there are not a lot of good characters , most of the characters are evil and were murderers. In the play there were a lot of images of nature that represented a symbol. For example the positive kind is the sun that is a symbol of happiness, energy, and peace. Another example is the Forest which is a symbol of good.

There are two main areas of interest in this play; the conflict between the characters and the battle between good and evil. The relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are very different. At the beginning of the play, they are very close but after Banquo is murdered, their relationship falls apart.

Bibliography (MLA citation)

  1. “Macbeth’s Guilt.” 27 Nov 2012
  2. “Shakespeare’s Macbeth – Lady MacBeth.” 27 Nov 2012 <> (visited on November 22 2012)
  3. (visited on November 25 2012)

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