Coexistence Of Good And Evil In Macbeth

Decent Essays
The nobles Macbeth and Banquo enter Act 1, Scene 3 and are confronted by a threesome of witches, who tell Macbeth that he will be the Thane of Glamis, the Thane of Cawdor, and the King of Scotland from then on. Before vanishing, they also tell Banquo that his children will be kings. Ross and Angus arrive with words from Duncan, stating that as a reward for his service he was given the title of the Thane of Cawdor. Upon realizing that the second part of the witches’ prophecy has been fulfilled, Macbeth has an inner struggle; the “foul” side of him wants to trust the witches and attempt to murder Duncan to acquire the throne, while the “fair” side of him is hesitant and does not wish to betray his people and gamble with his life. Shakespeare uses diction, motifs, and tone to emphasize the coexistence of good and evil that manifests inside all human beings, and how the conflict of these influences can affect one’s perception of reality. The words “foul and fair” are a common motif seen in Act 1. Shakespeare ties the motif to how bad things can seem good and vice versa, as a consequence of the coexistence of good and evil. Back at the start of the play, the witches chant “Fair is foul, and foul is fair; Hover through the fog and filthy air.” (Shakespeare 1.1.12-13) The first verse of the chant clearly means that bad things are actually good and good things are actually bad. Less recognizable however is second verse, where the fog and filthy air represents Macbeth’s blurred
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