The Theme of “Fair is Foul, and Foul is Fair” in Macbeth

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TheTheme of &quotFair is Foul, and Foul is Fair&quot in Macbeth

TheTheme of &quotFair is Foul, and Foul is Fair&quot in Macbeth

Theobjective of this paper is to explore the theme of foreshadowing thatShakespeare uses as a narrative technique in revealing the theme,“fair is foul, and foul is fair.” He introduces readers to theWeird Sisters who are also the three witches in scene one of thefirst Act (Shakespeare, 2012). The witches play a role of makingpredictions or telling prophecies about the future events. A readerwho reads the Act gets to know through the witches about the meaningof the theme, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair.” The themeadvocates how appearances do not represent what they seem to looklike.

Theplay starts with the introduction of the witches who predictscenarios as they talk to characters like Macbeth and Banquo. Theirprophecy is meant to cause disorder in the Kingdom by confusingMacbeth to kill King Duncan. Despite the fact that the witches haveno power to determine events, they manage to cause chaos byinteracting and talking to the individuals who hold higher positionsin the kingdom. The sons of the king fled the nation after theirfather’s death, and neither of them is enthroned as king as itshould have happened (Shakespeare, 2012).

Asergeant narrates the battle of Macbeth against the revolts by sayingthat discomfort came from the spring in which they thought was meantto bring comfort (Shakespeare, 2012). He makes the reader understandthat people always assume that the coming of spring is compared to afavorable weather that should bring comfort. Conversely, foul weathercan cause severe discomfort. The sergeant narrates further how thesoldiers had experienced such a scenario in the battlefield. Newenemies attacked Macbeth just when he had conquered one, and itappeared as though the battle was over.

Momentsafter being named the Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth wonders if it isproper for him to believe all the prophecies that were made by thewitches. However, Banquo asserts, “often, to win us to our harm,the instruments of darkness tell us truths, win us with honesttrifles, to betray, in deepest consequences, (Shakespeare, 2012).”Banquo warns Macbeth that the three witches could have told himlittle truths to entice him to engage in great ill. Macbeth either isnot willing to hear the advice of Banquo, or he does not hear himspeak because he disregards the warning. On the contrary, heconvinces himself that, “this supernatural soliciting cannot beill, cannot be good (Shakespeare, 2012).” The audience realizesthat Banquo has informed Macbeth that the whole scenario is evil,though it appears to be good.

Aftergetting the report about the putting to death of the Thane of Cawdor,King Duncan is of the view that, “There’s no art: To find themind’s construction in the face (Shakespeare, 2012).” The kingmakes his comments based on the fact that he dearly had trust on theThane of Cawdor, and he never thought that he could be a foul revolt.

Sceneseven of Act one ends when Macbeth still has grave second opinionconcerning the plan to kill King Duncan. He says to his wife, LadyMacbeth, “Away and mocks the time with fairest show: False facemust hide what the false heart doth know (Shakespeare, 2012).” Thewords mean that Macbeth and his wife should go to celebrate with theKing and pretend that they are his loyal servants, even though theirplan is to murder him on the feasting night.

Toconclude, Shakespeare uses the theme of the fair is foul, and foul isfair in the first Act of the play to reveal the future things thatare yet to take place like the killing of King Duncan, Macbeth’sdelusions, as well as the cravings by Lady Macbeth. Additionally, thereader gets to understand that appearances do not represent what theyare.


Shakespeare,W. (2012).&nbspMacbethThrift Study Edition.Dover Publications.