The theme of good to evil is expressed in many works of literature. This essay will explore the theme of good to evil in Shakespeare's Hamlet and Macbeth and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The main characters in theses works of literature start off as characters with good qualities such as loyalty, honesty and strength. These characteristics are transformed by the events in each story to become evil characteristics of greed, dishonesty and murder.
In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness the character that changed was named Kurtz. Kurtz started off as a man who wished to travel to Africa in search of an adventure. His desire was "humanizing, improving, instructing" those deprived in the Congo. When he reached the Congo and realized the power he can obtain over these people the greed went to his head and Kurtz abandoned all his enlightening philosophies. The Africans are roughly abused and taken advantage of. Kurtz used them to produce ivory for his company.
Likewise in William Shakespeare's Hamlet, Prince Hamlet before his father's death was a loyal and trustworthy son and heir to the thrown. These were qualities Hamlet had up until he encountered his father's ghost. The ghost of Hamlet told his son that he was murdered by his uncle Claudius for the thrown and his wife. This news set off an extreme anger in the Prince Hamlet which altered his characteristics from good to evil. He became obsessed with following his father's wishes to kill Claudius for his betrayal. In his determination he killed Polonius by accident and many other deaths came about.
Another work of William Shakespeare is Macbeth; it also signifies this same theme of good to evil. The character Macbeth begins as a valiant solider. He was loyal to the king and a fearless character in battle. After his prophecy from the three witches Macbeth realized the greed for power he had. He had begun to kill many people in hopes to be king.