Fair is foul and foul is fair
Hover through the fog and filthy air”
One of the main themes rampant in Macbeth is that of deception. There is a disconnect between appearance and reality. Hypocrisy is everywhere and what is good for one person may be bad for others in the play. The first scene of the play highlights this. We are introduced to the witches, who speak in ambiguous equivocations. The quote “Fair is foul…filthy air” portrays that what is ‘fair’ or good or wholesome for humans is ‘foul’ or unwholesome for the witched and vice-versa. ‘Filthy air’, an atmosphere that humans would shun, is the kind that the witches enjoy. Their morality is absolutely opposite to ours. The original Thane of Cawdor is introduced to us in Act I Scene ii through the technique of elision. We learn that in appearance, he was a very close friend of King Duncan, but the reality was that he had deceived Duncan and plotted against him with the traitor, Macdonwald, and the Norwegian King, Sveno. In this scene, Duncan’s quote “There's no art / To find the mind's construction in the face” exemplifies this theme as well. A man’s face and heart may speak very different things. His face might appear to be what his heart is not. When Macbeth is to be given the title of the Thane of Cawdor, the appearance id that Macbeth is getting a very honorable title – “What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won” However, it is actually the traitorous part of the Thane of Cawdor’s personality that Macbeth is inheriting along with the name. In Act I Scene iii, when Macbeth and Banquo meet the witches, their appearances defy reality as Banquo notices they are women, but they have beards. He cannot decide whether they are real or just hallucinations caused by eating hemlock, a root that causes insanity. This scene shows the true reality in Macbeth and Banquo’s characters through their reactions to the witches’ prophecy. Banquo is cool, calm and collected. Macbeth already has murderous thoughts but he hides...
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