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Examples of Symbolism in Macbeth

By rachelle189 Oct 28, 2010 460 Words
Examples of Symbolism in Macbeth

The theme is "fair is foul and foul is fair." This means that practically nothing in the play is what it appears to be. The witches predictions seem like good news; actually, they lead to death and destruction. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth appear to be perfect hosts to their party, when in fact, they are truly plotting murder. The Macbeths appear to be achieving their hearts desires; when in reality, the only gain torment and death. In reading this play, I came to the conclusion that when examining each scene, I could compare what appears to be happening to what is really happening in stark contrasts.

There are many instances in MacBeth when the theme is stated and supported. In Act 1, scene three, Macbeth and Banquo return "from the battlefield in which he fought with honor" and Macbeth says "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." Little did he know that the weird sisters he was about to meet were going to make and break his life. The witches state to MacBeth "you'll be king one day!" But then they say that Banquos offspring will also reign.

The next time when we see the theme represented is when a party is thrown at Macbeths castle. In secret, MacBeth and Lady Macbeth plan to kill King Duncan. They plot the most evil deed and say that "Duncan will never see tomorrow's sun!" , while at the same time, they " look frank and innocent" towards the guests. They realized that "showing their feelings is dangerous". To the many guests at the party, it may seem like any typical gala, but internally, the worst is being plotted.

The next example of "fair is foul and foul is fair" is when Hecate , the chief witch, realizes that "mans chiefest enemy is overconfidence and complacency ". With that in mind, she devises a plan that will bring MacBeth to his defeat. When MacBeth returns to the witches to find out more information, he is presented with three apparitions, each telling a part of Macbeths fate. The first warns him to be " Beware of Macduff and the thane of fife". There is when Macbeth confirms his fear. The next apparition warns him that "Nobody born to woman shall harm MacBeth". When hearing this, Macbeth thinks everything is fine and dandy when in fact, he's not listening to what its really saying. The Third apparition then states that" Macbeth shall never be vanquished till Great Birnam Wood advances against him to the high hill at Dunsinane." MacBeth automatically thinks that this case could never happen. We know from further reading that the troops against Macbeth use the wood in Birnam as camouflage to advance against Dunsinane.

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