The Theme Of Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair In Macbeth

1365 Words 6 Pages
Fair is foul, and foul is fair, a phrase that has become assimilated commonly with Macbeth. People don’t always show on the outside what they truly feel inside. Sometimes they hide their real feelings to fake a different appearance. Some Shakespearean plays contain dichotomies between appearance and reality. These dichotomies are one of the leading themes in Shakespeare’s works; he thrives on contradictions and ironies. One example of Shakespeare’s usage of this theme is in the play Macbeth, where not everything is as it seems. The very first scene of the play sets the beginning mood when the Three Witches chant: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" (Macbeth 1.1.12), meaning that things are not as they seem. Two characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, …show more content…
Even before he makes an entrance, Macbeth is given a likable aura. King Duncan is told by the Captain that “brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name), disdaining fortune … unseamed [the traitor] from the nave to th’chops” (1.2.18-24). The audience is already primed to love the character Macbeth. He seems like a great guy when he invites the king over for dinner, and proves his loyalty when he kills King Duncan’s murderers. When Macbeth becomes king in Duncan’s place, he tells his new subjects “come, love and health to all; then I'll sit down. - Give me some wine: fill full: - I drink to the general joy of the whole table, and to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss; would he were here. (3.4.84-91). Even when his best friend, Banquo, doesn’t show up to his party, Macbeth dedicates a toast to him. All in all, Macbeth appears to be a loyal and courageous …show more content…
But as time progresses, his true nature - ambitious, greedy, and cowardly – begins to reveal itself. Macbeth meets the Weird Sisters and hears their prophecy that he will become Thane of Cawdor, causing his true, ambitious self to come out and begin to consider murdering King Duncan saying to himself: “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” (1.3.153-155). These words reveal Macbeth's thoughts of murder instantly. The last part of this passage, "and nothing is but what is not," means nothing exists except what doesn't exist. This oxymoron resembles the words of the witches in the first scene, "fair is foul, and foul is fair," which means bad is good and good is bad. After murdering King Duncan, Macbeth moves on to murder Duncan’s servants, Banquo, and Macduff’s whole family. He tells himself to hide his true self under a false appearance, he 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” (1.4.55-60). Mixed with constant instructions from his wife to hide his real nature, behind a fake appearance, Macbeth continues to run from his true identity. Through acts of deception towards King Duncan and Banquo, Macbeth shows that who he appears to be is very different from the scheming man inside. At

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