Macbeth Themes

991 WordsApr 6, 20084 Pages
One of the most important themes in Macbeth involves the witches' statement in Act 1, Scene1 that "fair is foul and foul is fair." (Act 1, Scene 1, Line 10) This phrase aptly describes the macabre status quo within the character Macbeth and without. When Macbeth and Banquo first see the weird sisters, Banquo is horrified by their hideous appearances. Conversely, Macbeth immediately began to converse with these universally known evil creatures. After hearing their prophecies, one can say that Macbeth considered the witches to be "fair" when in reality their intentions were quite "foul." Macbeth's possession of the titles of Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland came by foul means. Macbeth became the Thane of Glamis by…show more content…
Macbeth was indecisive up until the very night of the murder about whether or not he should kill Duncan. Afterwards, he was unsure of a course of action. He rashly decided to kill Banquo, visit the witches and remain confident even when his castle was besieged. Lady Macbeth's initial lack of indecision is what brought about the pair's downfall. Later, however, she becomes tentative about the potential benefits of Banquo's murder. By the end of the play, she has become a delusional recluse that is almost entirely ignored by her husband. A fourth important theme in Macbeth is the creation of an internal/external hell. This creation of a place of damnation begins when Macbeth freely converses with the sinister witches. Banquo calls the weird sisters "instruments of darkness," (Act 1, Scene 4, Line 124) but Macbeth still decides to take their advice. At several times in the play both Macbeth and his wife invoke the night, a universal symbol of evil. Furthermore, many of the scenes in the play take place at night or in murky areas and are accompanied by the shrieks of ominous animals. Macbeth is unable to bless himself after the crime and he "murders sleep," (Act 2, Scene 2, Line 35) one of the only positive associations with night. Thus, hallucinations, sleepwalking, disembodied voices and ghosts all pervade Inverness. One can recognize the climax of this creation of an external hell when

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