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In Macbeth by William Shakespeare, appearance and reality is of vast importance. It is shown from the starting point and goes throughout the play.

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Appearance and reality in Macbeth In Macbeth by William Shakespeare, appearance and reality is of vast importance. It is shown from the starting point and goes throughout the play. Even in the very opening scene of the play we are introduced to the theme of appearance and reality. First, the witches say their spell "Fair is foul and foul is fair (1.1.12)". This seems to mean that what appears good can be evil, and what appears evil can be good. Banquo is confused he says, "you should be women/ And yet your beards forbid me to interpret/ That you are so (1.3.43-44)." Later in that scene, Macbeth says that "what seemed corporal,/ Melted, as breath into the wind." The witches seemed tangible, but later the vanished into the air. As well not only might the witches not be what they appear to be, their words might not mean what they appear to mean. Banquo warn Macbeth "The instruments of darkness tell us truth;/ Win us with honest trifles, to betray's/ In deepest consequences (1.3.126)." ...read more.


But when Macbeth is performing the murder she says "Had he not resembled/ My father as he slept, I had done't. My husband? (2.2.12-13)". This shows that lady Macbeth's reality somehow seems to have a gentle personality, but she tries to hide it, she says, "Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gum/ And dashed the brains out (1.7.57-58)". Another example where lady Macbeth's appearance contradicts reality is when she appears to be hospitable to Duncan, while in reality; she is planning to murder him. Appearance and reality also play a part when Macbeth is on his way to murder Duncan. Macbeth sees what appeared to be a dagger, he tries to hold it, but he can't, he says, "let me clutch thee:/ I have thee not, and yet I see thee still (2.1.34-35)." The dagger looks real, but in reality it is not. While on his way back he hears what appears to tell him "Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor shall sleep no more (2.2.45-46)". ...read more.


Having heard this Macbeth thinks that he will never be harmed by a man born of woman. This turns out to have a double meaning, when he fights Macduff in the end, Macduff tells him that he was "from his mother's womb/ Untimely ripped (5,8,15-16)." Also when the third apparition says, "Macbeth shall never vanquished be until/ Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane hill/ Shall come against him (4.1.91-93)." This appears to be impossible, who would believe that a wood can go up a hill, but later it also turns out to have a double meaning, when Malcom orders each of his soldiers to carry a branch and go up the hill, it seems as if the wood was going up the hill. Finally Macbeth realizes that he has been fooled by the apparitions predictions he says, "That palter with us in a double sense,/ That keep the word of promise to our ear/ And break it to our hope (5.8.21-23)". In conclusion, the theme of appearance and reality is a major idea of the play, which is shown very clearly by the characters words, thoughts and actions. Mohamed El Sherif Y11A ...read more.

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