Appearance vs. Reality - Comparative Essay

Topics: Frankenstein, Judgment, Macbeth Pages: 3 (1025 words) Published: January 12, 2013
It is all about Looking Good: A Comparison between The Role of Appearance vs. Reality In Macbeth and Frankenstein.
Macbeth is one of the works of playwright William Shakespeare and it is considered one of his most powerful tragedies. It tells the story of a good warrior, Macbeth, who turns bad because of ambition and greed. It is a classic tale of biting more than one can chew. A few centuries later, an author named Mary Shelley wrote a gothic novel, Frankenstein, about a young scientist named Victor Frankenstein who creates a being and abandons it. The creature tries to be accepted by both society and his creator. Although these two texts are of different genres and eras, with Shakespeare’s play showing strong themes of ambition and corruption and Shelley’s novel showing themes of justice, madness and the sublime, both authors use the theme of appearance vs. reality. They use this to show how human judgment is based solely on appearances, how an individual can change because of this judgment and how appearance plays a role in determining one’s place in society.

It is human nature to judge others on their outward looks. People depend mostly on their visual senses as the strongest point of judgment. For example, in the play Macbeth, Macbeth and his wife deceive the king with their actions and words to make him feel welcome while they are actually planning his murder. (Macbeth I. v). They know that people judge on appearance and decide to use it to their advantage. They act how they want people to see them, as loyal subjects of the king as opposed to deceitful, cunning and ambitious people which was what they really were. As said by Lady Macbeth, “to [deceive] the time, look like the time.” (Macbeth I. v.70-71). As vision is the primary sense of man, the basis of human judgment is the shape, colour or texture of the overall outward appearance. This determines if something is good or bad. In Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein’s creation had yellow skin, watery...

Cited: “Frankenstein – Theme of Appearance." 1999. Web. 10 Jan. 2013.
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. 2nd ed. Ken Roy. Toronto: Nelson, 2001. Print.
Shelley, Mary. Frankenstein. 1818. New York: Penguin, 1992. Print.
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