Macbeth - it is unusual to find a character in drama who is wholly evil

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Many theorists hold that the hero of a tragedy ought to be a man of great power and status so that his fall, when it occurs, is all the more impressive, awe-inspiring, and shocking. Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, is a classic tragedy whose exceptional calamity leads to the eventual death of the powerful and over-ambitious protagonist Macbeth. Although Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, are two seemingly evil people, it is unusual to find a character in drama who is wholly evil. Throughout the text Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are both equally guilty of committing abhorrent and evil actions. However, in spite of these actions, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth understand that their behaviour has been immoral. This indicates that they have a conscience, and so they cannot be depicted as 'wholly evil'.

Conscience is the moral sense, or capacity of our mental constitution, by which we irresistibly feel the difference between right and wrong.

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth did not express amusement over the sins they committed. Macbeth had second thoughts before he planned to kill Duncan, saying to his wife, "We will proceed no further in this business: He hath honored me of late, and I have bought golden opinions from all sorts of people" (Act I scene VII lines 31-33). At the same time, a mercenary would have no remorse in murdering another human. Also, it was her conscience which eventually drove Lady Macbeth to commit suicide in the end. She understood the difference between right and wrong, she knew that what she had done was morally wrong and this caused her to become deeply tormented by her actions. Characters that murder without remorse or thought as to its morality are those which we can call 'wholly evil'. However, Macbeth had to think twice and be persuaded before...