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Macbeth: Good and Evil Analysis

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Published: Mar 20, 2024

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Moral ambiguity: the complexity of good and evil, the role of the supernatural: temptation and corruption, the consequences of choices: redemption and damnation.

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good vs evil essay macbeth

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  • 20 January 2022 22 June 2024

Shakespeare’s epic play, Macbeth is one of his greatest works and in the eyes of some his greatest. The play deals with the very powerful theme of the struggle between good and evil, and also the complex nature of good and evil and how they can interplay with one another and that man far from being a simple creature is a complex one within whom both good and evil reside.

Macbeth as a Good Man - Act 1, Scene 2

Macbeth is first portrayed in the play as a good man.

The first reference to him in the play is when a Captain tells the king and his court news of the battle of Macbeth’s courage in a recent battle.

‘For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—’

This is important to ponder upon here. Because Macbeth is called ‘brave’. Bravery is closely connected to with being open as opposed to secretive. A warrior goes out openly in the battlefield, proclaims his allegiance to his side and fights. This is in contrast to later on in the play rather than ‘openess’ we see duplicity and deceit from Macbeth. He murders the king in secret and tries to pass the blame on to the guards. If we were to look at the ying and yang of good and evil, of light and darkness then good is connected to light here and evil to darkness.

good vs evil essay macbeth

Macbeth’s open bravery in battlefield contrasts that with his secret murder of the king. The battle is in the day, the murder of the king is in the night, a time of darkness. We also see later on in the play Hecate meet the witches during the night. Openness, honesty, bravery, good are all connected to light and deceit, cowardice, evil are all connected to the night and to darkness. Both good and evil exist in the world, both light and darkness, both day and night. How the these two pairs interplay with each other is the challenge that man faces.

Also the phrase, ‘he deserves that name’ is something we need to look at.

Does Macbeth deserve the name ‘brave’? Well the Captain certainly thinks so and the king reacts accordingly by bestowing upon Macbeth the title of the new Thane of Cawdor. However can we say Macbeth is brave? We can say that he was on that particular day, and that part of him is brave. However as we see later on there is a part of him which is cowardly including in his inability to resist the taunts of cowardice hurled against him by his arguably mentally stronger wife. We also see his cowardice and insecurity when he fears the threat of Macduff and even orders the murder of a woman and her child i.e. Lady Macduff and her children.

‘Not all that glitters is gold’, and deception and image versus reality is also another theme of Macbeth. Truth and illusion, image and reality are another duality that exist in this play.

Also the Captain makes mention of the word ‘name’. Well, this is important in the play because Macbeth is given the ‘name’ or title of Thane of Cawdor as foretold by the witches who also told him that he would gain another title (name), that of king. The play is essentially about that. What man will do for a title, for status, for name and the consequences that may have.

The Captain continues and says of Macbeth

‘ Like valor’s minion carved out his passage’

Valor’s minion here in a more contemporary form of English would mean ‘the servant of courage’ or something akin to that. Again the points we made above about Macbeth apply. Is he really a courageous man? Yes he is, but only in part and there exists within him cowardice, fear and insecurity which emerge later on. He is not a simple wholly good character but like most people, complex and composed of both good and bad. However unfortunately for ‘brave Macbeth’ (as the captain calls him) it is the evil inside him which overpowers him and causes his tragic and bloody demise.

Thus we are introduced to Macbeth as a brave man.

Before looking at that scene let us look at the scene before, the first in the play.

Act 1, Scene 1

This scene has been discussed previously when talking of the theme of the supernatural in this article, click here.

However to look at it again we see the witches utter the words:

‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair

Hover through the fog and filthy air.’

This in modern language would be akin to saying ‘Good is evil, and evil is good’. There is a confusion here, a tension.

It can also lead to asking the question, what is ‘foul’ (good) and what is ‘fair’ (evil)? For some what is good can be considered evil and vice versa, what is evil can be considered good. Is Macbeth himself good or evil? Well in the previous scene we see that he was. A brave and loyal man.

‘Good’ and ‘evil’ are labels at times, or ‘names’. Names like how in the following scene we see that the  Captain say ‘ brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—’. That was the Captain’s opinion, that Macbeth deserved that name. Was it correct? Well partially not completely. That was his perception, and perceptions emanate from our experiences and information which can be limited or faulty. If the Captain Macbeth were to in the future order the murder of children those words may have never sprung from his lips. So when the witches say ‘Foul is fair, and fair is foul’. This can apply to Macbeth, he is good but he is also evil, he is evil but also good. He is a loyal and brave warrior but also a murderer of children.

This is the nature of man, both good and evil reside within him and at times depending on the external factors he is exposed to one of those two (good and evil) may come to the fore, may be more dominant than the other.

It is the witches who seek to cause the evil in Macbeth to emerge and to cause destruction, malicious and wicked creatures that they are.

In the scene after Macbeth’s bravery is described it is then that we seem him encounter the witches. We then see the genesis of his fall.

Act 1, Scene 3.

This scene has also been discussed before and to read it click here.

To quote from that earlier article.

‘ Macbeth, a relatively simple man susceptible to psychological manipulation as we shall see later, has as his first words in the entire play,

‘So foul and fair a day I have not seen.’

These words are ironic, ‘foul’ meaning bad and ‘fair’ meaning good, because on that day he receives recognition for his valiant feats as a warrior by hearing that he will be Thane of Cawdor, which is something good, but he also hears prophesies which  poison him and set him on a path of continuous bloodshed spiralling more and more until the destruction of his wife and ultimately himself.

This existence of two opposing sides, this duality is representative of the play on a deeper level. Because just as one day can have both good and evil, so can one man. Macbeth has both good in him, a brave and loyal soldier, however he has within him a latent evil which if aroused or manipulated can lead to great suffering and that evil is the one of greed for power as well as his weakness in being unable to withstand the taunts of his wife who bids him to murder Duncan, the king.

However whilst Macbeth has both good and bad in him, Shakespeare squarely puts the witches as forces of evil.’

One of the most interesting things in this scene and very important to note is the sheer irony of Angus’ words to Macbeth. Angus and Ross come to the heath to deliver a message from the king himself to Macbeth. Ross informs him that he is Thane of Cawdor to which Macbeth replies ‘ The thane of Cawdor lives ‘ that there is already a Thane of Cawdor.

Angus then says:

‘ Who was the thane lives yet, But under heavy judgment bears that life Which he deserves to lose. Whether he was combined With those of Norway, or did line the rebel With hidden help and vantage, or that with both He labored in his country’s wrack, I know not; But treasons capital, confessed and proved, Have overthrown him. ‘

What is ironic hear is that Angus says of the old Thane of Cawdor deserves to die, to ‘lose’ his life. What then of the man who he is saying these words to who will murder the king cowardly and treacherously whilst Duncan (the king) was asleep, in contrast to the previous Thane of Cawdor who at least openly fought like a warrior.

‘ Fair is foul, and foul is fair ‘ as the witches say. Good is evil and evil is good.

Who is worse, the former Thane of Cawdor or the new one?

Once again we see two contrasts. A contrast between an open foe (the first Thane of Cawdor) and a supposed friend, Macbeth, who murders the king. Open rebellion versus hidden treachery. Angus and Ross praise Macbeth as the Captain did, but ironically if they were to know of his future crimes they would not do so.

All through out the play we see contrasting pairs, contrasting dualities. Good versus evil. Openness versus duplicity and a little later we see another example when Macbeth says to himself about the prophecies of the witches, one of which has already come true, his getting the title of Thane of Cawdor.

‘ This supernatural soliciting Cannot be ill, cannot be good. If ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success, Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor.’

Macbeth is now in a state of conflict and confusion. Torn between the two opposing forces of morality and immorality.

The witches prophecies ‘supernatural soliciting’ cannot be bad or ‘ill’ not can they be good. He is not sure of what to make them as regards whether they – the predictions – are good or bad. If they were bad then why have they turned out to be true in terms of him becoming Thane of Cawdor,  but he continues:

‘ If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings. My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical, Shakes so my single state of man That function is smothered in surmise, And nothing is but what is not

He says if it is good then why does he have the ‘horrid’ image of ‘murder’. This thought ‘shakes’ him to his core.

However the witches did not tell him that he would need to murder Duncan to become king. That thought comes from him. A more intelligent man would have thought that perhaps the future would unravel in such a way that Duncan might die a natural death and his son might not wish to be king and that ultimately Macbeth might become the monarch. Rather, in contrast, Macbeth does not think of any of this, nor does he think deeply but instead almost instantaneously enamoured with the prospect of becoming king, the idea of murdering Duncan comes to him.

This brave warrior who killed for the king may now kill the king.

This once valiant soldier whose violence was supposedly for noble causes, may now be for wicked causes.

However who is to decide what violence is good and what violence is bad? Macbeth has killed already.

The Thane of Cawdor will be killed, which we can be sure of will be due to the orders of Duncan.

Duncan will kill the Thane of Cawdor, and  be killed by the new Thane of Cawdor.

If it is alright for Duncan to kill the previous Thane of Cawdor, why is it wrong for the new Thane of Cawdor to kill him?

Who determines right and wrong and morality?

As the witches say ‘ Fair is foul, and foul is fair’

Macbeth is torn. There is an internal conflict between the forces of good and evil inside him. He is as mentioned before in a previous article, akin to a tree swaying or shaking from side to side. There is turbulence inside him just like the turbulence of the weather that day. There is also good inside him. The good that horrifies him at the idea of murdering Duncan.

However late Macbeth does admit that he may not have to be actively involved in trying to gain the crown. He says:

‘If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me Without my stir.’

If fate wants him to be king he may not need to do anything, to ‘stir’ means to move, to act.

However rather than accept that what will be will be and if the crown of Scotland is meant for him it will be so, Macbeth’s greed has been ignited by the prophesies. We can already see that he has thoughts of murdering the king, an act at that time wrong on many different counts.

– Murder outside of war is generally wrong.

– Murder of a relative, Duncan was Macbeth’s cousin.

– Murder of the king who people believed was chosen by God to rule over them.

The opening of Macbeth is very powerful because we are shaken. We do not know what is what. Good is evil, evil is good. The witches are of this world or are they not? Are they dead or are they alive? Are they men or are they women? Should Macbeth kill or not kill Duncan? Are the prophecies of the witches good or bad? Macbeth himself is shaken.

Macbeth then says the famous words:

‘And nothing is but what is not.’

which in other words means that what seems to be is actually not. What seems to exist ‘is’, does not exist, ‘is not’.

These words are very deep and ironic. Macbeth’s loyalty to the king is actually not real, for it shall be him who is the one who kills him. The ‘glory’ of becoming king brings little but misery and an ignominious death for him at the hands of Macduff. What seems to be is, is not as it seems.

This is indeed part of the power of the play, the strong contrasts and the deep irony.

Act 1, Scene 4

In the following scene Duncan says of the old Thane of Cawdor:

‘ There’s no art To find the mind’s construction in the face. He was a gentleman on whom I built An absolute trust. ‘

He says there is no way to know a man’s mind by looking at his face. What may appear good may be bad inside. ‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair’ as the witches said. Macbeth is replete with irony and this is yet again another example, as Duncan’s next words after speaking of the old Thane of Cawdor’s betrayal then says to his cousin, Macbeth:

‘O worthiest cousin, The sin of my ingratitude even now Was heavy on me. Thou art so far before That swiftest wing of recompense is slow To overtake thee. ‘

This condemning of the old Thane of Cawdor who Duncan will kill and praise of the new Thane of Cawdor by whom he will be killed, shows us once again just how much things may not be as they seem.

This goes back to the two lines of the play:

‘ Fair is foul, and foul is fair ‘ and ‘ And nothing is but what is not.’

Good is evil, evil is good. What is, is not. Is a ‘good’ and ‘evil’? Is an ‘evil a ‘good’? Is Macbeth the brave soldier who fought for the king really good?

Is it really good for the king to make him Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth himself asked if the witches prophecies were good or bad, and if good why does he think evil thoughts of murder.

The world is a foggy and unclear place, not all is what it seems to be.

Macbeth himself is a confused person, torn between conflicting feelings.

good vs evil essay macbeth

Later on in this scene we see this internal conflict more clearly when he says:

‘The prince of Cumberland! That is a step On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap, For in my way it lies.

Duncan’s son has become the heir to the throne who is always given the title ‘Prince of Cumberland’. Macbeth says essentially that Malcolm is an obstacle on his way to becoming king which must leap over. This shows Macbeth’s ambition and his constant coveting of the crown. It is this greed, this lust for being king which fuels his acts.

Macbeth then says:

Stars, hide your fires;

Let not light see my black and deep desires.

The eye wink at the hand, yet let that be

Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.’

Macbeth’s desires are  ‘black and deep’, they are shameful that he would wish for them to be hidden, for light not to be cast upon them.  These desires are so evil that he wishes his eyes themselves do not see ‘wink’ what his hand does.

Once again Shakespeare is very skilful at showing the tension within Macbeth which is representative of the conflict between good and evil in the wider world, with contrasting pairs. ‘Light’ versus ‘black’ i.e. light and darkness. Seeing and not seeing. Being apparent and being hidden.

Macbeth talks of ‘light’ not seeing his ‘black’ desires which is light versus darkness. His eyes which see should not see (wink) his acts, and he talks of how the ‘eye fear’ what there could be to ‘see’.

He wants to do, but not to see. He wants the end outcomes of these actions, but is deep inside ashamed of these actions. He wants the rewards but not the required acts. He is wrought with tension, with contradictions.

In the next article we will continue to look at the  theme of good and evil in Macbeth including lady Macbeth and her influence on her husband.

Useful vocabulary for students.

  • Duplicity – Meaning dishonest but originating from the same roots as the words ‘dual’ or ‘duo’ which mean two, duplicity means being two-faced. Macbeth is full of respect to the king in front of him but is thinking of killing him.
  • Valor – Bravery, courage.
  • Enamoured – to love something or to be deeply interested or fond it. Macbeth is enamoured with the idea of being the new king.
  • Covet – To desire something, often things which one should not desire or has a degree of jealousy. Macbeth covets the position of being king.
  • Deceit – Lying and dishonesty.
  • Demise – Fall or decline, or a person’s death. Macbeth’s demise can be said to be ultimately caused by the witches prophecies igniting some of the evil inside eventually resulting in his death.
  • Ying and Yang – originating from Chinese philosophy, the concept of two different contrasting energies. In the context of Macbeth we can see it in the form of a struggle between good and evil.

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Essay about Good & Evil in Macbeth

Macbeth - Good and evil. The eternal struggle between good and evil is one of the central themes of the play Macbeth. The conflict between good and evil can be seen in the inner struggles of both Macbeth and Banquo. Macbeth chooses evil when he allies himself with the witches, yet he continues to be troubled by his conscience. Lady Macbeth chooses evil when she invokes the evil to ‘Unsex’ her, but is ultimately driven insane by her troubled conscience. Banquo falls victim to temptation when he fails to speak out against Macbeth.

While the struggle between good and evil is initially psychological or spiritual in nature, it inevitably assumes a military dimension. In other words, the conflict that starts in the hearts and minds of Macbeth and Banquo is ultimately settled when the forces of good physically confront ‘devilish Macbeth’. Throughout the play Macbeth’s reign is associated with the forces of evil. The witches who contribute to Macbeth’s downfall are symbols and agents of evil. In stark contrast Duncan, Malcolm, Macduff and Edward are associated with the powers of good.

The evil that disrupts the natural order must be defeated so that the natural order can be restored. When Macbeth consorts with the witches he enters a world of evil. The Witches are in the dramatic opening scene they help to create the ominous, evil atmosphere that pervades the play. The witches’ hideously ugly appearance suggests their evil nature. They delight in mischief and cruelty. These ‘instruments of darkness’ help to bring about Macbeth’s downfall by drawing out ambition within him. They also contribute to Banquo’s moral decline by tempting him with promises of things to come.

We witness the struggle between good and evil within the mind of Macbeth. The tragic hero is deeply interested in the witches’ prophecies to become king. After receiving news that he has been made thane of Cawdor, Macbeth is convinced that he is destined to become king: ‘the greatest is behind. ’ While he is horrified by the idea of killing Duncan, it is an idea that remains rotted in his mind: ‘…why do I yield to the suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix my hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs against the use of nature? ’ in a key soliloquy In act 1 scene 7, Macbeth wrestles with his conscience.

He realises that Duncan’s kinsman, subject and host, his duty is to protect the king. He also reminds himself that Duncan has been a good king: ‘so clear in his great office’. Concluding that his only reason for killing Duncan is his ‘vaulting ambition’, he tells his wife that they will ‘proceed no further in this business. ’ However, following Lady Macbeths dramatic intervention, Macbeth ignores the voice of his conscience and re-dedicates himself to the murder: ‘I am settled and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat. ’ Tempted by the witches and browbeaten by his wife, Macbeth chooses evil.

This moral choice will have profound consequences both for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and for all of Scotland. Despite choosing evil, Macbeth never entirely silences the voice of his conscience. th voices he hears in Duncan’s chamber and the ghost of banquo are products of his guilty conscience and vivid imagination. At the close of the play Macbeth is reluctant to fight Macduff: ‘my soul is too much charged with blood of thine already. ’ Lady Macbeth is seen to align herself with the forces of darkness when she prays to evil spirits to ‘unsex’ her and fill her full of ‘direst cruelty’.

Her claim that she would sooner smash the head of the child she was feeding than break her word to Macbeth suggests that she is wholly evil. However following the murder of Duncan she is tormented by her conscience, eventually losing her sanity: ‘All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand’. Both Macbeth and lady Macbeth pay a high price for choosing evil. The kingship brings no sense of satisfaction and neither ever again enjoys any sense of inner peace. Lady Macbeth sadly reflects that ‘nought’s had, all’s spent where our desire is got without content’.

The defeat of Macbeth’s better nature leaves him empty and desolate. By the closing stages of the play, Macbeth sees no point to life and is ‘weary of the sun. ’ the evil that he and Lady Macbeth embrace eventually destroys them both. We also see the struggle between good and evil in the heart of Banquo. When Banquo first encounters the witches he displays little interest in their prophecies. Indeed he warns Macbeth that these ‘instruments of darkness’ may ultimately betray him: ‘… win us with honest trifles to betray us in deepest consequence. ’ However, at the start of act 2 we see Banquo wrestling with his conscience.

He cannot sleep because he is tempted by the idea of his sons becoming kings. Banquo remains ultimately good, and prays for divine assistance to resist temptation: ‘Merciful powers, restrain in me the cursed thoughts that nature gives way to in repose! ’ however, Banquo’s soliloquy at the start of Act 3 suggests that the seed of temptation has taken root in his mind. He knows that Macbeth has played ‘most foully’ for the crown, but says nothing because he hopes that the prophecies will also materialise for his sons: ‘may they not be my oracles as well and set me up in hope? Banquo’s selfish inaction suggests that evil also triumphs in particular inner struggle. For much of the play evil is in the ascendency. The much-admired Macbeth succumbs to his ‘black and deep desire’ to be king and murders the virtuous Duncan. Evil comes to increasingly dominate Macbeths nature. Banquo also gives into temptation, before being murdered because Macbeth fears his ‘royalty of nature’. Macduff’s entire family is butchered as Macbeth gives free rein to his most tyrannical tendencies.

Under the usurper’s rule, Scotland becomes a land of intense suffering and misery. Macduff tells Malcolm that ‘each new morn new widows howl, new orphans cry, new sorrows strike heaven on the face. ’ However, the forces of good led by Malcolm and Macduff eventually rally and march on Scotland. The ‘most pious’ King Edward of England provides the military support to overthrow the demonic Macbeth. Malcolm declares that the divine powers are with them in their struggle against evil: ‘Macbeth is ripe for shaking, and the powers above put on their instruments. Macbeth becomes an increasingly isolated figure as Scottish lords abandon him and give their rightful allegiance to the rightful king of Scotland, Malcolm. The defeat of Macbeth marks the defeat of evil. Macbeth’s death is necessary for the restoration of the natural order. At the close of the play, Macduff enters with the ‘usurper’s cursed head’ and hails Malcolm as the rightful king of Scotland. While Macbeths reign was from the beginning associated with the powers of evil, Malcolm will rule ‘by the grace of grace’.

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Good & Evil In Shakespeare

During the time that Shakespeare and his contemporary playwrights were writing their plays beliefs about good and evil were changing. In the mediaeval mind good came from God and evil came from the Devil. It was more or less as simple as that. Human beings had no say in the matter and good and evil were things that were imposed on them. When someone behaved well s/he was being influenced by God and when someone behaved badly they were under the power of the Devil, sometimes even possessed by his demons.

With the Renaissance, and the humanism that was influencing the cultural and artistic outlook of Europe, a more psychological concept of good and evil began to come into being. Human beings were now responsible for their actions and the good or evil within them originated in people rather than in outside agents. That transformed the drama of the Renaissance and instead of the stock, stereotypical figures of mediaeval drama, we now began to see characters who were ‘good’ or ‘evil’, or even a mixture of the two. The audience could see them as real people like themselves and were able to become involved in their feelings and emotions, rather than just regard them as one would gaze at stuffed animals in a glass case. That was, of course, one of the main reasons for the popularity of the Renaissance theatre.

And so, Shakespeare and his contemporaries could create really evil characters like Iago who, in spite of a level of evil that most audiences still gasp at, they could recognise as being real people like them. Conversely, a character like Desdemona, sweet and innocent, putting herself last in her service to others, admirable and enviable as she is to us, who could never be like her, is nevertheless recognisable as a real person like us.

As humanism took root in Europe, conditioned by such things as the growth of individual wealth and criticism of religious institutions, the distinction between good and evil began to disappear, allowing true psychological characters who were capable of both good and bad actions to emerge in drama, just as figures in art and sculpture were becoming more naturalistic. And so we have the physically realistic figure of Michelangelo’s David and the psychologically realistic figure of Edmund in King Lear . And we have a hero like Macbeth who can be turned from good to evil.

There was still an objective evil lingering in the real world of human beings, mainly in the form of witches. Witches, influencing human beings and seducing them into committing evil deeds, feature in Renaissance drama. Audiences were fascinated by them so they made good material for drama. The combination of the Devil’s agents at work and psychological characters struggling against their influence could form the conflict in the drama, and so we had a play like Macbeth .

Macbeth is a good example of the treatment of good and evil in both Elizabethan drama and Jacobean drama . As a theme it is a stark contrasting picture of the two forces, perhaps even over-simple. But it’s that contrast that provides the drama, with all the language and action surrounding them.

Macbeth begins as a ‘good’ man, a very good man – loyal, responsible and honourable. During the course of the action he becomes evil, influenced by the witches who are agents of the power of evil. He is led on by their suggestion that he is destined to become king. The transition is accompanied by language that depicts that transition. At first he is ‘great,’ ‘good,’ Macbeth, the hero of Scotland. The king, Duncan, calls him ‘valiant cousin,’ and ‘worthy gentleman.’ In the course of the action Macbeth kills his opponents, slaughtering the whole of Macduff’s family, one of the children actually being murdered onstage. He is now ‘black Macbeth,’ ‘bloody butcher,’ ‘hell kite.’

The saintly Duncan is associated with good. When Macbeth is considering killing him he acknowledges that: ‘this Duncan hath borne his faculties so meek… that his virtues will plead like angels trumpet-tongued against the deep damnation of his taking off.’ We see there the direct contrast in the angels of heaven and the damnation of hell.

As Duncan and Banquo approach Macbeth’s castle for the king’s visit, the language creates a heavenly atmosphere around them: ‘heaven’s breath smells wooingly here.’ But inside the castle it is different. The evil plotting of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth has turned it into an almost literal hell. ‘The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements,’ Lady Macbeth says. ‘Come thick night and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell.’ Everything now, in the castle, is dark and hellish. There is even a comic scene, after the killing of Duncan, where the gate keeper, aroused from his sleep by Macduff knocking on the door, fantasises about being the gatekeeper of hell. Every word, every action, now, expresses that theme.

Duncan’s son, Malcolm, together with Macduff, exiled in England, now gathers a force to return to Scotland and overthrow Macbeth. Sponsored by the English king, who is depicted as the agent of good, they return to Scotland and the classic battle of good versus evil takes place. They overthrow Macbeth and the throne is restored to its rightful king. Good has triumphed over evil.

Most of the plays have this tension between good and evil but none as clearly and graphically and prominently as Macbeth .

Shakespeare Themes by Play

Hamlet themes , Macbeth themes , Romeo and Juliet themes

Shakespeare Themes by Topic

Ambition, Appearance & Reality , Betrayal , Conflict , Corruption , Death , Deception , Good & Evil , Hatred , Order & Disorder , Revenge , Suffering , Transformation

good vs evil - 2 opposite doors leading to heaven and hell

Good vs evil – a classic play theme

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Macbeth Good vs Evil Quotes

Fair is foul, and foul is fair

Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air.

– William Shakespeare

What are these So wither’d and so wild in their attire, That look not like the inhabitants o’ the earth, And yet are on ‘t?

What! can the devil speak true? - Banquo and Witches

What! can the devil speak true?

And oftentimes, to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest trifles, to betray ‘s In deepest consequence.

Cannot be ill, cannot be good: if ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success, Commencing in a truth? I am thane of Cawdor: If good, why do I yield to that suggestion Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair And make my seated heart knock at my ribs, Against the use of nature? Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings: 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.

Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings.

If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, Without my stir.

What thou wouldst highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, And yet wouldst wrongly win.

Hie thee hither, That I may pour my spirits in thine ear; And chastise with the valour of my tongue All that impedes thee from the golden round, Which fate and metaphysical aid doth seem To have thee crown’d withal.

Come, you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts! unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top full Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood, Stop up the access and passage to remorse, That no compunctious visitings of nature Shake my fell purpose.

take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers - lady macbeth

Come to my woman’s breasts, And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers.

Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry, “Hold, hold!”

look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under 't

Your face, my thane, is as a book where men May read strange matters. To beguile the time, Look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, But be the serpent under ‘t.

If it were done when ’tis done, then ’twere well It were done quickly: if the assassination Could trammel up the consequence, and catch With his surcease success; that but this blow Might be the be-all and the end-all here, But here, upon this bank and shoal of time, We’d jump the life to come. But in these cases We still have judgment here; that we but teach Bloody instructions, which being taught, return To plague the inventor: this even-handed justice Commends the ingredients of our poisoned chalice To our own lips.

He’s here in double trust; First, as I am his kinsman and his subject, Strong both against the deed; then, as his host, Who should against his murderer shut the door, Not bear the knife myself.

Besides, this Duncan Hath borne his faculties so meek, hath been So clear in his great office, that his virtues Will plead like angels, trumpet-tongued, against The deep damnation of his taking-off; And pity, like a naked new-born babe, Striding the blast, or heaven’s cherubim, horsed Upon the sightless couriers of the air, Shall blow the horrid deed in every eye, That tears shall drown the wind.

We will proceed no further in this business.

He hath honour’d me of late; and I have bought Golden opinions from all sorts of people, Which would be worn now in their newest gloss, Not cast aside so soon.

If we should fail.

False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

Now o’er the one half-world Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse The curtain’d sleep.

Witchcraft celebrates Pale Hecate’s offerings, and wither’d murder.

Whiles I threat, he lives: Words to the heat of deeds too cold breath gives.

I laid their daggers ready; He could not miss ’em. Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done ‘t.

I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did not you speak?

But wherefore could not I pronounce “Amen”? I had most need of blessing, and “Amen” Stuck in my throat.

These deeds must not be thought After these ways; so, it will make us mad.

What hands are here? ha! they pluck out mine eyes. Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas in incarnadine, Making the green one red.

My hands are of your colour; but I shame To wear a heart so white.

To know my deed, ’twere best not know myself.

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Deceptive Ambitions: Macbeth's Tragic Journey into Darkness. (2016, Nov 12). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/macbeth-good-vs-evil-essay

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Deceptive Ambitions: Macbeth's Tragic Journey into Darkness essay

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Macbeth- Good vs evil

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Good V.S. Evil


Every single person has good and evil in them.  We are all capable of doing good and bad things.  Sometimes people want more power or money and they do evil things because they are greedy, or are just influenced by something and want it.  In the play, Macbeth,  the title hero has good and evil in him. He starts out as a heroic soldier, but soon kills many people to gain and keep power.   In William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth , the title character is a good person but it corrupted by his thirst for power.  

        At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is an honorable, respected character. He starts out as a heroic soldier that fights for his country. He is brave and does everything he can to be a great soldier.  Everyone, including the king, Duncan, respects Macbeth.  Macbeth also shows a lot of respect for everyone: “Thou art so far before, that swiftest wing of recompense is slow to overtake thee.” (1.4.19-21) Duncan tells Macbeth that he deserves more thanks that it’s possible to give for saving Duncan, by fighting for Scotland. Duncan thinks Macbeth is a heroic soldier. He thinks Macbeth is brave and courageous and he trusts him.  Duncan and Macbeth have a good relationship and both respect each other.  Duncan is happy to have such a wonderful man to be one of his soldiers, and Macbeth is pleased to be a soldier for King Duncan.

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        The witches play an important role in corrupting Macbeth. Throughout this play, Macbeth received many prophecies from the witches. The witches played with the words for the prophecies to make them sound better than they truly were.  Macbeth believed the witches, which caused him to become evil and he only gets more evil as time went on. Most of the evil things Macbeth did were influenced by the witches, and the prophecies they gave him. He became greedy for power, and killed people that he thought were in his way. Macbeth chooses to kill because the two other prophecies came true. When Macbeth found out that the witches were lying to him and that they told the prophecies wrong, he realized that all of this evil was a waste of time and he started to be good again: “The instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequences.” (1.3.133-135) Banquo warns Macbeth after hearing the first set of prophecies. He didn’t want to believe the witches when he heard the prophecies, but Macbeth believed them, even though they were evil.  By choosing to trust in evil, Macbeth himself became evil. Nothing good came from believing the witches and the prophecies.

        Macbeth was corrupted by his own ambitious desire for power. Macbeth wanted more and more power, which caused him to do evil things. He killed many people that he thought were going to take away his power.  Macbeth first killed Duncan because he wanted to be King.  Macbeth didn’t want to kill him, but Lady Macbeth convinced him too.  After killing Duncan, Macbeth felt guilty and couldn’t believe he had killed someone. But soon that didn’t matter because Macbeth was excited about becoming king:

        “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?”(2.2.77-78) After Macbeth kills Duncan, Macbeth believes nothing will get the blood off his hands. This shows how guilty Macbeth is and how he regrets killing Duncan.

        Macbeth’s evil starts to corrupt him which leads him to kill more people.  Macbeth wants to stay King for a long time, and he doesn’t want Banquo’s prophecies to come true. Banquo’s prophecies are that one of his children will become King, and Macbeth doesn’t want this to happen.  He hires three murderers to kill Banquo and Fleance. Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost and starts to act crazy. He feels guilty, but it doesn’t matter to him because he is already going to hell, so he can kill as many people as he wants.  He gets another three prophecies from the witches and because of it, he kills the Macduffs. This is such a tragic event because he kills Lady Macduff and her son. This murder shows how ruthless Macbeth has become. Even though Macbeth kills a lady and a child, he doesn’t care at all. He has no sense of what is right or wrong, he only cares about power.

        Throughout the play, Macbeth,  the title character has to make many decisions between good and evil and always chooses the evil decision. He is known to everyone as a heroic soldier, and has a lot of respect for and from King Duncan. But he is soon corrupted by evil because of his want for power. The witches give Macbeth prophecies that influence him to kill people and do evil things for power. He chooses to trust this evil, which causes him to become evil himself.  Macbeth kills many people and has no guilt in what he has done. He has become very ruthless throughout the play and has no sense of what is right or wrong. Macbeth only cares about power. He has shown many evil things throughout this play, but what shows his evil the most would be the killing of all those innocent people. Macbeth returns to good when he realizes the witches have betrayed him. Everyone has good and evil in them, and Macbeth truly shows it.

Works Cited:

Shakespeare William. Macbeth . Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Toronto: 1988.

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This student has remained focused on the question. They have provided some detailed evidence from the play to back up their points. More analysis on language would improve this.

Macbeth- Good vs evil

Document Details

  • Word Count 935
  • Page Count 3
  • Subject English

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Macbeth: the Complex Intersection of Ambition Morality and Fate

This essay about William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” examines the complex themes of ambition morality and fate within the play. It describes Macbeth’s transition from a noble warrior to a tyrannical ruler driven by the prophecies of the Weird Sisters and his own unchecked ambition. Lady Macbeth’s role is also highlighted as she embodies and manipulates gender norms to fulfill her desires. The essay discusses the psychological consequences of Macbeth’s actions including his guilt and paranoia which lead to his tragic downfall. Themes of fate versus free will are explored through the characters’ reactions to the witches’ ambiguous prophecies. Additionally the play’s use of natural and supernatural elements is discussed emphasizing how personal corruption is mirrored by cosmic disorder. The essay concludes by reflecting on the moral lessons of the play and its relevance to contemporary issues of power and ethics.

How it works

William Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” is a profound exploration of the dark side of ambition and the consequences of unethical behavior wrapped within a dramatic and thrilling narrative. This tragic play steeped in witchcraft prophecy and murder offers a timeless analysis of the human condition and the psychological effects of power and guilt.

“Macbeth” begins with the titular character in a place of honor and valor having just defeated the forces of invasion and rebellion against King Duncan of Scotland. His encounter with the three Weird Sisters on the desolate heath marks a turning point not only in the plot but in his moral landscape.

The witches prophesy that Macbeth will become king planting the seeds of ambition and desire for power. Shakespeare brilliantly illustrates how Macbeth initially a loyal and noble warrior is led astray by his aspirations and the manipulations of his wife Lady Macbeth.

Equally complicated and motivated by her own goals is Lady Macbeth. She defies the prevailing gender conventions of the era by demonstrating willpower and strength even greater than her husband’s. She is willing to give up all things feminine in order to fulfill her wants as seen by her well-known plea to the spirits to “unsex me here” and fill her with malice. This scene is significant because it emphasizes how gender roles and the dynamics of power inside a marriage are explored in the play.

The drama explores Macbeth’s psychological suffering as he ascends to the throne through regicide. The story culminates in a depressing realization as the remorse he feels for what he did causes him to experience psychosis and disturbing visions. Shakespeare skillfully discusses the social and psychological effects of unchecked ambition by using Macbeth’s spiral into madness. At the blood-stained blade hallucination and later when Banquo’s ghost appears at the supper Macbeth is forced to face the moral consequences of his actions.

The theme of fate versus free will also pervades the narrative. While the witches’ prophecies set Macbeth on the path to kingship it is his own actions—spurred by his interpretation of their words—that seal his doom. This interplay raises questions about predetermination and the extent of free will themes that resonate deeply with audiences even today. The prophecies ambiguous and cunning can be seen as self-fulfilling driven by Macbeth’s choices rather than any true destiny.

Moreover the natural and supernatural elements of the play serve to enhance its ominous atmosphere. The constant references to darkness storms and the eerie appearances of the witches connect the turmoil within Macbeth to the cosmic disorder he creates. This linkage between the moral and natural realms is a common element in Shakespearean tragedies where personal actions disrupt the broader order of the universe.

“Macbeth” is a stark reminder of the perils of excessive ambition and moral compromise. The play’s conclusion with Macbeth defeated and the rightful order restored serves as a cathartic resolution of the chaos unleashed by his actions. Yet the resolution also invites reflection on the cycle of power and its consequences suggesting that ambition unchecked by ethical considerations leads invariably to ruin.

Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” offers a thought-provoking reflection on the nature of human ambition and the intricacies of the human psyche in addition to being an entertaining play. The drama which continues to be a mainstay of English literature offers perspectives that are still applicable in the modern period. Its depiction of a tyrant’s ascent and descent is nevertheless a potent meditation on the contradictions in human nature and the never-ending struggle between good and evil.


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Macbeth: The Complex Intersection of Ambition Morality and Fate. (2024, Jul 06). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/macbeth-the-complex-intersection-of-ambition-morality-and-fate/

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"Macbeth: The Complex Intersection of Ambition Morality and Fate." PapersOwl.com, Jul 06, 2024. Accessed July 10, 2024. https://papersowl.com/examples/macbeth-the-complex-intersection-of-ambition-morality-and-fate/

"Macbeth: The Complex Intersection of Ambition Morality and Fate," PapersOwl.com , 06-Jul-2024. [Online]. Available: https://papersowl.com/examples/macbeth-the-complex-intersection-of-ambition-morality-and-fate/. [Accessed: 10-Jul-2024]

PapersOwl.com. (2024). Macbeth: The Complex Intersection of Ambition Morality and Fate . [Online]. Available at: https://papersowl.com/examples/macbeth-the-complex-intersection-of-ambition-morality-and-fate/ [Accessed: 10-Jul-2024]

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At Mar-a-Lago, Extremism Is Good for Business

By Karen Yourish ,  Charlie Smart and David A. Fahrenthold

The ornate ballrooms and manicured lawns of Mar-a-Lago have hosted a variety of affairs for the wealthy and connected in the resort’s nearly 100-year history: philanthropic galas, lavish banquets, society lunches. During the presidency of Donald J. Trump, who has owned the property since 1985, the club drew a paying clientele of establishment Republicans and others currying favor with the president.

But since Mr. Trump left office in 2021, Mar-a-Lago has transformed into a White House in exile and the nerve center for some of the most extreme elements of the party’s MAGA wing. This includes a nearly steady stream of promoters of conspiracy theories that include lies that the 2020 election was stolen and that the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021, was a federal setup.

This portrait of the company Mr. Trump keeps was assembled from a New York Times analysis of people and groups that have spent significant time and money at the resort, which has been his primary residence since his presidency ended. See an accounting of more than 130 of those people at the end of this story.

The analysis, built on a review of videos, photos and other evidence of attendance at Mar-a-Lago, found that events hosted by ultra-right organizations and political fundraisers now dominate Mar-a-Lago’s calendar, and even officially non-political events can feel like rallies. In this gilded echo chamber, Mr. Trump enjoys unwavering devotion — and collects the staggering price of admission.

At Mar-a-Lago, conspiracy theories and fearmongering take the ballroom stage. There, the “Pizzagate” hoax, centering on outlandish claims of a pedophilia ring among prominent Democrats, is real. The 2024 presidential election is more than a political contest — it is a struggle between good and evil.

A vast majority of gala events held at the club since January 2021 have been sponsored by individuals and organizations aligned with Mr. Trump’s style of politics, The Times found. And those who oppose MAGA conservatism — and its pervasive insistence that the 2020 election was stolen — are excoriated.

“If there’s anyone who doesn’t support Trump, I don’t see it,” Cameron Moore, a Mar-a-Lago member, said last month on a podcast hosted by Alex Stone. Mr. Stone describes himself as an “adopted nephew” of Roger J. Stone Jr., a longtime political operative and a regular at Mar-a-Lago.

It wasn’t always this way.

From Black Tie to Red Hats

Before Mr. Trump became president, Mar-a-Lago was a magnet for Palm Beach society, hosting opulent galas from fall through spring that raised funds for some of the nation’s most prestigious charities.

Political events were rare. During the 2014-15 season — the last before Mr. Trump officially entered politics — The Times counted 52 fund-raiser events at Mar-a-Lago. Of them, just one was political: the Republican Party of Palm Beach County’s annual Lincoln Day dinner.

Winter gala seasons at Mar-a-Lago leading up to Trump’s presidency

good vs evil essay macbeth

“Lady in Red” Gala

good vs evil essay macbeth

Red Cross Gala

This past winter, The Times found only six of those events were still being held at Mar-a-Lago — including the G.O.P.’s Lincoln Day event. Traditional charities began peeling away from the club in August 2017, after then-President Trump said there were “very fine people on both sides” of a violent rally to save a Confederate statue in Charlottesville, Va. Of the groups that departed, 10 moved their events to Mar-a-Lago’s chief rival in the Palm Beach banquet business: The Breakers resort.

Groups aligned with Mr. Trump’s politics have taken their place.

Turning Point USA, a right-wing student organization, began hosting an annual gala at Mar-a-Lago in 2018. America First Policy Institute, a nonprofit set up in 2021 by former Trump administration officials, has thrown an “America First Gala” at Mar-a-Lago every year since its founding. America’s Future Inc. — a group led by Michael T. Flynn that has amplified the false conspiracy theory that a global cabal of pedophiles controls the media and politics — has held two events, as has Border911, founded by Thomas D. Homan, who served as acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement during the Trump administration.

Winter gala seasons at Mar-a-Lago since Trump left office

good vs evil essay macbeth

“2000 Mules” Premiere

good vs evil essay macbeth

America First Policy Institute

good vs evil essay macbeth

Border911 Gala

“This is where we come to recharge our batteries and to know we will retake our nation,” Sebastian Gorka, a former White House aide for Mr. Trump, said from the Mar-a-Lago stage in December. Mr. Gorka is the host of a radio show that describes itself as “the new front lines in the ongoing Culture War against the Left.”

A close-up on a translucent plaque, held by a man’s and a woman’s hands. The translucent part of the plaque reads “Founding Fathers Award” and has silhouetted images of several American founders’ heads. The base of the plaque is black and has gold lettering that reads “Presented to Donald J. Trump by Moms for America in Grateful Recognition of Your Fight for Freedom.”

The “Founding Fathers Award” presented to Mr. Trump by the group Moms for America in December.

Event organizers, speakers and attendees use their proximity to display loyalty to and admiration for Mr. Trump. They say he is the “ greatest president ” (in “ modern history ,” “the history of America” or “since Abraham Lincoln ”). They give him awards (“ American Defender of Zion ,” “ Founding Fathers ” and “ America’s Champion for Children ”). They tell him they love him and sing songs in his honor .

All Campaign Trails Lead to Palm Beach

The presidential race is not the only one rooted at Mar-a-Lago. A visit to the resort has become an essential rite for Republican candidates . Since 2021, more than 60 Republicans in or running for Congress or state office have spent money at Mar-a-Lago, most on fund-raisers. Their ultimate objective: securing an endorsement or a surprise appearance from Mr. Trump.

According to federal and state campaign finance filings through the first quarter of 2024, more than $4.7 million has been spent on the property by candidates and political committees since Mr. Trump left the White House and made Mar-a-Lago his permanent residence. Mr. Trump’s campaign, and super PACs supporting it, make up about a quarter of that total.

Campaign and other political spending at Mar-a-Lago has exploded in the past three years

Each circle represents one political expenditure paid to Mar-a-Lago.

Circles are scaled by the amount of money spent.

The Republican National Committee

spent $175,900 in 2022.

The Democratic Senatorial

Campaign Committee spent

$17,253 at Mar-a-Lago in 2008.

A political action committee

supporting Mr. Trump spent

$209,481 this past February.

Some of the biggest payments came

from Mr. Trump’s own political coffers.

His campaign spent $423,372 on

an event in 2016.

The Republican

National Committee

spent $175,900

Each circle represents one political expenditure

paid to Mar-a-Lago. Circles are scaled by the

amount of money spent.

The Republican National Committee spent $175,900 in 2022.

Publicly, Mr. Trump has downplayed the idea that his club is a central political destination.

“We don’t do too many of these things at Mar-a-Lago,” Mr. Trump said in March 2022 at a Mar-a-Lago fund-raiser for Vernon Jones, who was running for the Republican nomination in Georgia’s 10th Congressional District.

“I don’t want to make it a totally political place,” Mr. Trump added. But in reality, that’s largely what Mar-a-Lago had become. More than two dozen midterm candidates had already held fund-raisers on the property when Mr. Trump made that statement.

The Political Is Profitable

As Mar-a-Lago’s owner, Mr. Trump is the beneficiary of its profits — and the club’s evolution seems to have been good for his bottom line.

The Trump Organization is a private business, and, for years, very little was known publicly about the financial health of its clubs, including Mar-a-Lago. But that changed when Letitia James, the New York attorney general, sued Mr. Trump for exaggerating the value of his properties. Detailed records of the club’s finances were made public as evidence.

Those records show that Mar-a-Lago actually lost money in 2012, but then its profits began to climb as Mr. Trump entered politics. They hit a peak in 2017, as the club added new customers — including the U.S. government , which paid for bedrooms used by Secret Service agents and liquor drunk by Mr. Trump’s aides — without losing its existing ones, like the charities that rented out the club’s ballrooms for fund-raiser galas.

A rectangular white receipt says “The Mar-a-Lago Club” at the top and lists, among other details, a variety of drinks and their prices. They include “16 Tequila Patron” for $240, “22 Chopin” for $352, “10 Don Julio Blanco” for $150, and “6 Woodford Reserve” for $96.

A bill showing more than $1,000 in charges for liquor, paid by the U.S. Department of State.

But many of those charity customers began to flee Mar-a-Lago during Mr. Trump’s presidency, with operating profits bottoming out at $4.2 million in the Covid-stunted year of 2020, according to an analysis by Laurence Hirsh, a consultant hired by Ms. James.

Since Mr. Trump left office, however, Mar-a-Lago’s profits have shot up again — even as the club has been in the headlines for its role in both the New York civil case and one of several criminal cases against Mr. Trump. (According to federal prosecutors , Mr. Trump used Mar-a-Lago to store classified documents — often in close proximity to partygoers — that he had illegally removed from the White House. Mr. Trump has pleaded not guilty to these charges.)

Records entered into evidence in the New York fraud case by an analyst for the Trump Organization, Greg Christovich, showed that Mar-a-Lago had a net profit of $22 million in 2022. The analysis showed that profits at Mr. Trump’s 11 other U.S. clubs — most of them golf clubs he visits far less often than Mar-a-Lago — had also rebounded since their lows in 2020. But Mar-a-Lago still stands out: Its profits were more than double those of any other Trump club, according to Mr. Christovich’s analysis.

Net profit by year at Donald J. Trump’s clubs

$20 million

$15 million

$10 million

West Palm Beach Golf Club

Source: Analysis by Greg Christovich entered into evidence in New York civil fraud case

One major reason for that increase: Mr. Christovich said that Mar-a-Lago had raised its membership initiation fee to $600,000, the highest it had ever been. The fee, which entitles the club’s roughly 500 members to use its dining rooms, beach club, tennis courts and other facilities, had been just $100,000 when Mr. Trump won the 2016 election. The club’s new members paid $12 million in initiation fees in 2022, Mr. Christovich’s records showed — money that was effectively all profit for the club.

Another reason for the club’s surge: Mar-a-Lago reported $11 million in profits from its food and beverage operations, which appeared to include both the club’s member dining areas and its catering business. Mar-a-Lago has two large ballrooms that host banquets, weddings and private parties. The Trump Organization did not respond to questions about whether the club had raised its rates for banquets, and the turnover among its customers makes it hard to compare the cost of the same events from year to year. But one of the club’s steadiest customers, the Republican Party of Palm Beach County, reported paying more: its Lincoln Day dinner in 2023 cost $318,000, up from $158,000 in inflation-adjusted dollars seven years earlier, campaign finance records show.

“I believe there was an increase in the cost, steadily, over the years,” said Michael Barnett, who was the chairman of the county G.O.P. until 2023, and who is now an elected county commissioner. But Mr. Barnett said the cost increase had not deterred the party: “You can’t ask for a better venue,” he said. “We would never consider going anywhere else.”

Frank Vain, a consultant who advises private clubs, said that other clubs in Florida, with no connection to politics, had also seen huge increases in profits over the same period. “We’re calling this a bit of a golden age for private clubs,” he said.

A recent study by the firm RSM, which serves as a consultant to golf clubs, found that private clubs in the same area as Mar-a-Lago had also sharply raised their initiation fees, though their average fee was still far lower than Mar-a-Lago’s. The average initiation fee in the area increased to $176,000 in 2023 from about $126,000, adjusted for inflation, in 2021.

A MAGA Oasis

Of course, a key distinction sets Mar-a-Lago apart from other clubs a wealthy Palm Beach resident might consider joining. A motivation beyond luxury or privacy motivates the true believers who have flocked to South Ocean Boulevard: MAGA is a movement, and Mar-a-Lago is its epicenter.

Fred Rustmann, a former member of the club who supports Mr. Trump’s policies, said he canceled his membership in 2021 because the clientele had “started to change to people who were kissing his butt all the time,” he said, referring to Mr. Trump. And, unlike when Mr. Trump was president, “he was there a lot,” Mr. Rustmann said. “There was a lot of hand-shaking, and applause, and everybody stands up, and wow-wow-wow. It just wasn’t my kind of thing anymore.”

Since Mr. Trump left office, and as he has increasingly aligned with the extreme fringe of the Republican Party, photos posted on social media of people and events at Mar-a-Lago reflect that right-wing personalities have become more woven into the tapestry of the club. These are a few of them.

good vs evil essay macbeth

More than two dozen speakers from the ReAwaken America Tour , a far-right, Christian nationalist roadshow led in part by Mr. Flynn , have visited Mar-a-Lago since Mr. Trump left office. Many have been seen there more than once.

Dinesh D’Souza , a right-wing commentator turned filmmaker, has held premieres for at least two movies at Mar-a-Lago: “2000 Mules,” which promoted the lie that the 2020 election was stolen, and “Police State,” which alleged high-level weaponization of the justice system against conservatives.

Siggy Flicker , a former Real Housewife of New Jersey and a current spokesperson for the right-wing Jewish organization JEXIT (“Jews Exiting the Democrat Party”), joined the club last year and has become a frequent presence.

Jack Posobiec , a hard-right podcaster who has promoted disinformation, has had dinner with Mr. Trump and attended multiple galas.

At an April fund-raiser for Kari Lake, Mr. Trump praised Laura Loomer , a provocateur who twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress and who has said she supports white nationalism.

The Times identified more than 130 people who have attended events at Mar-a-Lago three or more times since Mr. Trump left office. Some are members of the club, while others are frequent visitors.

They come from all sorts of backgrounds. 15 are professional athletes or entertainers . Hover or tap to see their names.

38 are prominent figures in conservative media or social media .

Dozens of politicians have made the pilgrimage. These 44 are current members of Congress or state officials , or candidates who ran or are running for those positions in 2022 or 2024.

34 of them received endorsement s from Trump.

Some were at the rallies in Washington in support of Mr. Trump on Jan. 5 and 6 , 2021, that preceded the riot at the Capitol.

Many more have spread misinformation about the events of Jan. 6 — including characterizing it as an F.B.I. plot — or played down the seriousness of the attack on the U.S. Capitol.

And the proportion who have questioned the results of the 2020 presidential election , or said it was rigged or stolen, is larger still.

These are some of the people who are spending time in Mr. Trump’s home as this year’s election looms. For so many in the Mar-a-Lago universe, Mr. Trump has been the rightful president since 2017 — and the 2024 result is a foregone conclusion.

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