Equivocation in Macbeth

2636 WordsFeb 21, 201311 Pages
Equivocation in Macbeth In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the theme of equivocation to effectively illustrate the evil nature of the witches. Equivocation is the use of ambiguous expressions in order to mislead. The prophecies of the witches play a mischief in this play, as they are a form of deception that at times use vague language to dodge an issue. The three influential prophecies, which the witches make in this play, are that the protagonist Macbeth will become the king of Scotland, Banquo will be the father of the king of Scotland, and Macbeth will not be killed until the Birnam wood moves to Dunsinane hill. The sources of these prophecies are the witches who put together the devious words into Macbeth 's mind, which demonstrates…show more content…
As the second witch said: By the pricking of my thumbs, Something wicked this way comes: (-Act 4, Scene 1) Such is Macbeth 's fair to foul story in a flash. There is also Lady Macbeth, Macduff, Malcolm, and Donalbain, and perhaps even Banquo. Each of these character 's development follows the “fair is foul and foul is fair” format. In the beginning of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth shows a beautiful face, yet what she says in private is evil. In fact in Act 1, Scene 5, she says: “Art not without ambition; but without The illness that should attend it; what thou wouldst highly, That wouldst thou holily; wouldst not play false, And yet wouldst wrongly win: thou 'dst have, great Glamis... She is saying that Macbeth is ambitious but lacks the brutality of character (the illness) to carryout any evil deeds through. After this Lady Macbeth continues on, trying to convince Macbeth to murder Duncan and eventually succeeds. From the end of the first Act through the 2nd, Lady Macbeth has shown her “innocent-self” perfectly capable of committing heinous deeds. Yet eventually the “illness” gets the better of her, as it did Macbeth, and she kills herself unable to stand living with her burdens. On the other side of the “fair is foul and foul is fair” phrase there is Malcolm and his loyal followers. Malcolm and Donalbain were seen as traitorous murders as they fled
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