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The Theme of Appearance and Reality in Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’

By studju27 Nov 06, 2012 449 Words
Shakespeare uses the theme of appearance versus reality in ‘Macbeth’ to give his work a strong foundation on which the story could take its course in a way that every scene is related to another. In Act 1 Scene 4, King Duncan makes a direct notion to this theme when referring to the traitorous Macdonwald: “There’s no art / To find the mind’s construction in the face. He was a gentleman on whom he built / An absolute trust” Unfortunately, King Duncan also has “an absolute trust” in Macbeth who eventually will be his murderer. After the battle against the Swedish army, he welcomes him as “O worthiest cousin” and “My worthy Cawdor.” King Duncan is misled to believe that Lady Macbeth is like her husband; trustworthy. In Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth warns her husband that if they will proceed further in this business, they should “look like th’innocent flower, / But be the serpent under’t.” In the next scene, she puts into practice what she has told Macbeth during a conversation with King Duncan: “For those of old, / And the late dignities heap’d up to them, / We rest your hermits.” In Act 1 Scene 5, we see a manly Lady Macbeth who is ready to do everything in order to make path for her husband to attain kingship. However, in Act 3 Scene 2, she seems to have lost confidence in herself and she starts to doubt if this wasn’t a good idea after all, “You must leave this.” This loss of confidentiality will eventually make her obsessive and will result in a mental breakdown. Macbeth is lured by the witches’ prophecy to believe that he will be king and so he tells everything to his wife who convinces him by her challenging words to murder the king. When Macbeth is proclaimed king, he never finds peace in himself, firstly because he did a bad omen and secondly because he didn’t want that somebody finds out what he did. He tells his wife, “O full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!” In Act 4 Scene 1, Macbeth goes to the three witches to ensure himself that his generation will have kings and not Banquo’s. Macbeth is fooled by the spirits’ words that he mustn’t worry anymore because his kingship is safe, “That will never be: / Who can impress the forest, bid the tree / Unfix his earthbound root?” In conlusion, King Duncan meets his death because he trusts too much Macbeth; Macbeth trusts the three witches that he and his generation only would be kings but he is proven wrong and Lady Macbeth trusts herself but a certain point, she loses this trust and starts to be paranoid.

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