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Paradox In Macbeth Essay

Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair Essay

760 Words4 Pages

     In the tragedy, Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the paradoxical theme of “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” functions throughout the play. The line is a prophecy which one thing seems like another. It implies especially to the characters that they are not as they seem to be.
     The Three Witches are the ones who introduce the paradox that runs throughout the play. The theme affects these characters because although they speak of the future, they do not seem to affect the course of it. They are the agents of fate because they only speak of the truth of what will happen. Macbeth refers to the Witches as the Weird Sisters. In fact the word "Weird" comes from an old English word…show more content…

You should be women, And yet your beards forbid me to interpret That you are so.” Macbeth also remarks that they “seem’d corporal” and yet they vanish like “bubbles into the air.”
     The paradoxical theme affects Macbeth’s by turning his life upside down. Macbeth is not the person he is as he seems. He is introduced as a warrior hero, whose fame in the battlefield wins him the honor from King Duncan. However, his ambitions are made clear when he reveals his inner emotions and thoughts. One example is when Macbeth says, “I am settle and bend up Each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock the time with fairest show. False face must hide what the false heart doth know.” Macbeth knows that the act of killing Duncan is morally wrong and even agonizes over the idea of killing someone who loves him as much as Duncan does, yet decides that he will do it anyway. Macbeth does not like the fact that Duncan intends to pass the crown to his son Malcolm. The blindness of the Duncan shows when he says, “To find the mind’s construction in the face. He was a gentleman on whom I built An absolute trust,” he greets Macbeth as his “worthiest cousin.” The effect the paradox has on Macbeth is ultimately his death. When the Witches prophesize that no man born from a woman’s womb can defeat him, he feels invincible. However, Macbeth does not realize that Macduff was born unnaturally. Paradoxically, the more power

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In the play Macbeth, some of the most significant characters rely upon their ability to equivocate, in order to hide their treacherously covetous, or purely malicious intentions. Most characters take part in these acts of subterfuge, but the three witches, the porter and above all, Macbeth are the most significant. While Macbeth employs these tactics of speech manipulation and ambiguity as the others do, he eventually falls victim to this game of trickery himself, a captive of his own inability to see the deception hidden in the witches’ words.

When Macbeth is introduced, he is undoubtedly a respected and noble Thane, with blatant loyalty to his country. It is not until the witches’ prophecies tempt him with the possibility of a future kingship that he becomes the deceptive, dishonest murderer that plagues Scotland in the later acts of the play. Macbeth’s skill at deception is first put to the test after his murder of Duncan, when, with the intent of appearing innocent, he attempted to mislead Banquo, Macduff, Malcolm, and the other nobles into believing he was nothing more then his king’s loyal subject. He strived to appear just as appalled and surprised as they were by this brutal and unforeseen murder. In an effort to...

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