Macbeth’s Descent into Evil

Why does Macbeth, who knows that his actions are evil and will be punished, continue to choose evil? Macbeth begins the play as a loyal yet brutal soldier, who murders only in the context of war to further his country’s cause. By the end of the play, Macbeth is a ruthless killer, murdering anyone who stands in his way of keeping the throne. How does he get this way? What actions led him to the man he finally becomes? Step One: In a group or on your own, you will be looking throughout the play to find significant passages that show Macbeth’s descent into evil. You can choose quotes from any characters, as long as they contributed to Macbeth’s downfall. For example, Lady Macbeth is a crucial component to Macbeth’s murderous plot. She says many things that persuade Macbeth to commit murder and become evil. If you decide that a passage is significant, record the character that is speaking, and the act, scene, and line numbers. Write down the quote in its entirety! You need to have AT LEAST 10 quotes that show Macbeth’s descent into evil. Step Two: When you have finished searching the entire play, look over the passages you have found, and select three key passages from their results. What does the passage reveal about the workings of Macbeth's psychology and his motives for evil? Step Three: ON YOUR OWN—when you have chosen your three passages, write a short paragraph (5-7 sentences for each passage), explaining why that passage is significant and what it reveals about Macbeth's motives for evil. Step Four: As a class, we will be pooling the results in order to better understand the motives behind Macbeth's increasingly evil actions as the play progresses. We will be creating a chart that shows Macbeth’s steady descent into evil.