An Analysis of So Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair Meaning in Macbeth

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Throughout Macbeth there is a strong contrast between what seems to be and what really is. The play begins with Macbeth saying. So foul and a day I have not seen. Macbeth is rejoicing over a marvelous victory as a captain of the army, while complaining about the weather. It is ironic that this day would bring the news of his future that would soon lead to his death. Shakespeare uses this theme of appearance verses reality through the entire play.

Scene one shows the three witches discussing their plans to meet with Macbeth. Used to draw the crowds attention, these witches speak in riddles and odd sayings. The scene closes with the witches chanting in unison, Fair is foul, and foul is fair This signifies the forthcoming differences between appearance and truth. The witches, upon meeting him, hail Macbeth that shalt be king hereafter!

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Macbeth is startled by this news, which confuses his companion Banquo. Banquo asks, Good sir, why do you start: and see, to fear Things that do sound so fair? Macbeth realizes that this seemingly good news means the death of people close to him. Troubled by this Macbeth pleads with the imperfect speakers to reveal to him more of his future, but the witches made themselves air, into which they vanished.

In Act III, Macbeth comes again upon the three witches. The witches reveal more to Macbeth through three apparitions that they pull from their boiling cauldron. The first apparition was an armed head. The witches warn Macbeth, beware Macduff. Macbeth claims to be struck with fear, and asks the apparition to explain itself. However, the apparition is gone.

The second apparition was that of a bloody child saying. Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scom The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth. This gives great boost to Macbeths pride, Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee? This self-confidence leads Macbeth into fearless battle against Malcolms followers in Act V. Macbeth slays young Siward and states, though wast born of woman. But swords I smile at, weapons laugh to scorn, Brandishd by man thats of woman born.х Macbeth is reassured by the knowledge that no man born of a woman can harm him, and thus enters into a fight with Macduff.

Macbeth tells Macduff, thou losest labourl bear a charmed life, which must not yield to one of woman bom. Macduff stuns Macbeth with his reply that he was untimely rippd from his mothers womb. Macduff then proceeds to cut of Macbeths head. Macbeths interpretation of this second apparition ultimately leads to his death; he understood it to prove his invulnerability, when it actually carried a much different meaning.

The third apparition by the witches was a child crowned, with a tree in his hand, stating, Macbeth shall never vanquishd be until Great Brinam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him. Macbeth is once again perplexed, nevertheless relieved. As before, Macbeth interpreted this apparition to prove his invulnerability, when it in fact predicted his ruin. As Malcolm and his followers approach Macbeths castle Malcolm has his army use the trees of Birnam to shield themselves from the sight of Macbeths men. Macbeths messenger warns him, I looked toward Birnam and anon, methought, the wood began to move. Macbeth dismisses this man as a liar, but soon remembers the warnings of the apparition and becomes terribly fearful.

Macbeth is full of several appearances that prove to be deceiving. Macbeth sees visions of a bloody dagger and the ghost of Banquo, neither of which is real. Shakespeare uses witches to foretell Macbeths future, which gives Macbeth a false sense of security and pride. Shakespeare uses this theme of appearance verses reality a great deal throughout the story of Macbeth.

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An Analysis of So Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair Meaning in Macbeth. (2023, Jun 18). Retrieved from

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