Bastardy In William Shakespeare's Macbeth

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How much of who we are comes from our own inner predisposition, or mere interpretation from an outsider? Is someone obliged to become either a hero or villain by virtue of their existence, or are heroes and villains moulded over time from origins that could have taken either path? Analysing the preconceived ideas of Bastardy in Elizabethan society, it can be seen that the illegitimacy of Don John, “Shakespeare’s most passive villain” is the root of his villainy. Prejudgement, to pass judgement without sufficient knowledge, can lead to forming misconceptions that may transform someone or something’s image altogether. This pre judgemental attitude of Messina towards his birth circumstance crafts Don John to be an arguably uninteresting antagonist…show more content…
As freely gifted to his brother, he would never receive the same money, status or respect. With aspects out of his control defining his life, Don John’s source of bitterness and motivations to spoil other characters happiness become clear. However it can be argued that he is rendered an underdeveloped and uninteresting antagonist when compared to the likes of the cunning Iago or valiant Macbeth. This is justifiable considering the focus of the comedy is to display the comic and follies of misunderstanding. His brooding and sullen nature reveals his cowardice in that he is too caught up in self pity to better himself, so he resorts to bringing others down with…show more content…
Making a point of reminding the audience that he will never be able to have a positive interaction with society, Shakespeare draws attention to the underlying issue. As Benedick heartily proclaims, “Think not on him till tomorrow, I’ll devise thee / brave punishments for him. Strike up, pipers”, Don John is completely pushed from their minds. Leaving us with his imminent punishment, Messina’s hypocrisy is only more emphasized. A quickly dismissed and marginalized victim of society, Don John seems the only to not be excused from punishment and easily forgiven while others acted just as villainous, justified by his definition as a villain in the mind of the

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