Appearance versus reality

Topics: Macbeth, Decision making, William Shakespeare Pages: 4 (1173 words) Published: October 4, 2013
Appearance versus reality

Appearance versus reality is an important theme in William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’. The theme focuses on characters who are deceived by what appears to be real, and on the tragic consequences that follow this error in judgement. By evaluating the way the play shows that appearances are deceptive and the consequences of each pretence it is apparent that Shakespeare is conveying the message that all humans must make a decision whether to choose the world of appearance or real world concerns. This suggests that the characters who choose to be authentic will gain rewards and the characters who are deceptive will suffer the consequences.

Throughout the play there are many examples of how appearances are deceptive and characters choose the world or appearance rather than of real world concerns. The audience is immediately introduced to the idea of appearance rather than reality through the supernatural witches. In act 1 scene 1 they say “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” this is an idea that contradicts itself, and is used to foreshadow the fact that characters in the play who seem to be good and righteous (Macbeth and Lady Macbeth) may actually be tainted or evil, and vice versa. This is clear whilst looking at both Macbeth and his wife Lady Macbeth, as their appearances and the way the act are deceptive and generally fatal to the other characters. Macbeth's appearance differs from his true self. He portrays himself to be strong and wise, but inside he is truly weak. When he first faces the witches predictions, he says; "Come what come may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day." (Act I, Scene 3) Basically he says that any good fortune that may come to him in the future will come on its own. He wants to appear collected, strong, and noble, but in the end, he completely contradicts his statement by greedily killing men to get what he expects is his for the taking. This shows his extreme weakness and deception of being a...
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