Macbeth and Dramatic Representation

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Shakespeare’s Macbeth delves into the notion that people’s appearances can be misleading, as their outward actions may not accurately represent their inner beings. No matter how hard someone tries to present themselves, their genuine essence will eventually come to light. This concept is exemplified in Macbeth through characters such as Banquo, Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth who initially seem different but gradually unveil their true identities.

Banquo, an honorable man, chooses to suppress his true feelings to avoid offending others. He and Macbeth encounter three witches who prophesy about their futures. Macbeth remarks to Banquo, “And oftentimes, to win is to do our harm, the instruments of darkness tells us truths, win us with honest trifles to betrays in deepest consequence.” (Act I, Scene 3)

Banquo endeavors to communicate with Macbeth in a cautious manner, prioritizing his integrity. He tactfully presents his thoughts to Macbeth, aiming to prompt him to contemplate his next steps. Nonetheless, Macbeth disregards Banquo’s cautions. Driven by the witches’ prophecies and his restlessness, Macbeth commits murders. Furthermore, he anticipates receiving his rightful rewards. Similar to Banquo, Macbeth’s outward appearance masks his true nature. Macbeth presents himself as strong and wise, yet internally, he is feeble. Upon hearing the witches’ predictions for the first time, he utters, “come what come may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day”.

In essence, the author suggests that any future good luck will come naturally to him. His intention is to project strength and nobility; however, he ultimately undermines his own statement by ruthlessly murdering men in pursuit of what he believes is rightfully his. This exposes his vulnerability as he unquestioningly believes the prophecies of the witches. Similarly, Lady Macbeth, like her husband, outwardly appears noble and resolute, but the weight of their killings and guilt eventually erodes her conscience until she also collapses.

The text highlights Lady Macbeth’s statement where she expresses her tender love for her child and her willingness to harm it, paralleling it to the strong and heartless facade she presents to others. Similarly, Banquo and Macbeth also hide their true selves behind a mask. However, regardless of the facades they put up, the truth will eventually prevail, proving that appearance is overcome by reality.

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