Essay on How Macbeth's Character Turns from Fair to Foul

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How Macbeth's Character Turns from Fair to Foul

Shakespeare’s text ‘Macbeth’ is the tale of a man ruined by his own ambition. The story of Macbeth is an example of power at the expense of everything else, he begins the play as a strong character that is greatly admired, however as the play progresses Macbeth's personality and actions become more and more devious which eventually leads to his destruction. His character changed from a ‘brave’ and ‘noble’ person to a ‘dead butcher’. Following the murder of Duncan, Macbeth realises that the murder has put him into the control of supernatural forces by the witches’ this to the witches’ is seen as a game. The words ‘fair’ and ‘foul’ were first said by
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The oxymoron at the end of scene one -

‘Fair is foul, and foul is fair,

Hover through the fog and filthy air.’

The play is opened by the witches outside; there is thunder and lightning. All of these things would have shocked and terrified a Shakespearean audience. Outside scenes are full of chaos because the outdoors was seen as unsafe. Weather and the natural elements were said to reflect the state of life for men on Earth, therefore bad weather meant bad times. In Shakespeare’s texts the most important character would open the piece. Witches opening a performance would have been unimaginable.

The witches obviously have a strong influence over important characters in the play. King Duncan echoes the witches' words without hearing them. The second witch says:

“When the battles lost and won.”

Duncan echoes this by saying:

“What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won.”

Macbeth is initially presented as valiant, brave, noble, honourable, loyal and courageous by King Duncan, for whom Macbeth is a general. Duncan receives reports of Macbeth’s heroism, which ensure victory for the king’s cause. In gratitude for the victory, Macbeth, who is Thane of Glamis, is to be presented with the title of Thane of Cawdor. The audience’s curiosity regarding Macbeth has been aroused. Furthermore, Macbeth’s first line in the play echoes the oxymoron used by
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