Appearance Vs. Reality In Macbeth By William Shakespeare

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Every person has fallen victim to appearance versus reality at least once in his/her lifetime. It is human nature to see a person and judge him/her on how they dress alone. People allow the sense of sight by itself to make all of his/her inferences on that person. William Shakespeare illustrates the way appearance versus reality can be used in many different ways through his play Macbeth. This play is set in medieval times and starts in the middle of a civil war in Scotland. A man named Macbeth meets three witches who give him a prophecy that he will one day be king, but Macbeth wants to be king now and sets off to kill the king and become the new king. Once king, Macbeth gets paranoid and starts to kill anyone he sees as a threat to him and …show more content…
Malcolm is the eldest son of Duncan, and he is next in line to become the King of Scotland. Instead of being a victim of the theme appearance versus reality, he uses it to his advantage. Once his father is murdered, Malcolm and his brother flee Scotland because “there’s daggers in men’s smiles” (Shakespeare 2.3. 141). This shows that they understand that people can appear nice on the outside but be genuinely evil on the inside. After Macbeth becomes king and others begin to suspect him of getting the throne in an unjust way, the Thane of Fife, Macduff, goes to find Malcolm. When trying to convince Macduff to come back to Scotland and take back the crown, Malcolm uses that theme of appearance versus reality to see if he can really trust Macduff. He tells Macduff that he would be a much worse king than Macbeth is at the moment: “ .... black Macbeth/ Will seem as pure as snow, and the poor state/ Esteem him as a lamb, being compar’d/ With my confineless harms. … I have none: the king-becoming graces,/ As justice, verity, temperance, stableness,/ Bounty, perseverance, mercy, … I have no relish of them, … had I power, I should/ Pour the sweet milk of concord into hell,/ Uproar the universal pearce, confound/ All unity on earth” (Shakespeare 4.3. 52-55, 91-100). When Macduff gives a reasonable reaction to all the lies that Malcolm says about his personality, he tells Macduff that he has lied so that he is able to …show more content…
The way the character’s interpret the prophecies, and the way they really unfold demonstrates the major theme in Macbeth of appearance vs reality. These prophecies are presented to the characters through three witches, but it is not known for sure if they are really sorcerers, so they are referred to as the three weird sisters regularly by other characters. The first time Macbeth meets these witches, they give him three prophecies: “All hail Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Glamis!/ All hail Macbeth! hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!/ All hail, Macbeth! that shalt be King hereafter” (Shakespeare 1.3. 48-50). The last of the three predictions excites Macbeth. He wants to be king now, and Macbeth hears the prophecy the way he wants it to unfold, and therefore neglects the hereafter part of the prophecy. Because of this prophecy and the way it appears to Macbeth, he works hard to become royalty as quickly as possible. Once king though, he sees it is not everything he has wished it would be. Due to Macbeth’s new found paranoid nature after becoming king, he goes to see the weird sisters a second time and demands them to answer his questions. He once again receives three prophecies; one tells him: “ … none of woman born/ Shall harm Macbeth” (Shakespeare 4.1. 80-81), and another states: “ … Macbeth shall never vanquish’d be until/ Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill/ Shall come against him” (Shakespeare 4.1. 92-94). Macbeth

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