The Tragedy of Macbeth: Fair is foul, and foul is fair Essays

508 Words 3 Pages
The greatest writer in the English language, William Shakespeare, used diction, syntax, and vivid imagery to develop his own sense of style in which he employed into The Tragedy of Macbeth. He utilized his style and the most important paradox to set forth a central idea. In the exposition, the three witches stated that, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” to set the stage, but also to foreshadow the effects of the quote on the decisions and outcomes of characters. Recognizing the use of paradoxes, and the irony in them, leaves the reader confused, pending the outcome of the plot. Ultimately, the paradox helps one understand Macbeth, a contradiction himself. All paradoxes found in Macbeth relate back to “fair is foul, and foul is fair.” …show more content…
At this point in the play, the reader may be confused, but that is the effect of a paradox; in addition, the paradox also sets forth more foreshadowing, which all ties back to the original paradox. Shakespeare’s incorporation of figurative language in paradoxes allows characters to seem one way, but actually act contrary. When Macbeth and his wife developed their master plan to murder Duncan, they had to continue to act conventional and not disclose their secret. Lady Macbeth helped Macbeth accomplish this by telling him to “look lik th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under it.” By using similes and metaphors, Lady Macbeth helped Macbeth realize that Duncan would know something was going on if he did not look welcoming and happy on the outside like an “innocent flower,” and to hide his true plan inside, “be the serpent under it.” The effect this line has on the reader is more than just a realization of the intentions of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth; it is the first major action said by a character to support that “fair is foul, and foul is fair,” which is the ultimate paradox in Macbeth. The figurative language in the paradox is not only important for the reader’s knowledge, but it enhances suspense of the play. Determining diction is import in understanding Shakespeare’s style. Shakespeare’s diction allows a paradox to arise, not just by a characters dialogue, but also by the description of a graphic scene. In Act II, scene 1, Macbeth imagines a

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