Paradoxes/Things in Twos/Oxymorons. Throughout Macbeth, there are many situations and characters' internal conflicts which are paradoxical. There are also many things which come in twos; these are similar, but not always identical. From almost the beginning of the play ("when the battle's lost and won"), paradoxes/doubles appear regularly. Examples include: "when the battle's lost and won" (1.1.4)
"fair is foul and foul is fair" (1.1.12), (said by the witches) "Lesser than Macbeth, and greater." (1.3.65)
"Not so happy, and yet much happier" (1.3.66)
"So foul and fair a day I have not seen" (1.3.38) (Macbeth's first line) "they doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe." (1.2.42)
"the service and the loyalty I owe in doing it pays itself." (1.4.25-6) "I have thee not, and yet I see thee still." (2.1.46)
"double, double, toil and trouble..." (4.1.10)
Ambition and Betrayal. Macbeth's tragic flaw is likely his own ambition, which leads him to betray King Duncan and, later, murder his friend Banquo. He becomes Thane of Cawdor only after the previous thane rebels against the king; Macbeth thus continues a tradition of betrayal among those in power. The play dwells on ambition's ability to be a morally corrupting agent. It has the same effect on Lady Macbeth, whose sins drive her to madness and suicide. Visions. There are several hallucinations in the play. In Act 2 Scene 1, Macbeth sees a bloody dagger floating in the air, pointing to King Duncan's resting chamber, perhaps encouraging his upcoming deed. In Act 5 Scene 1 Lady Macbeth hallucinates that her hands are covered in blood, despite her obsessive washing. Macbeth also sees the ghost of Banquo at the royal banquet. The precise meaning and origins of these visions is ambiguous(open to or having several possible meanings or interpretations). They could possibly be conjured by the three...