Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth - Beyond the Fair and Foul

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More to Macbeth than Fair and Foul

The statement "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" does not thoroughly express the many themes of Shakespeare's Macbeth. The first time this statement occurs is very early in the play, when the witches chant the exact line "Fair is foul, and foul is fair"(I.i.12) only for Macbeth to repeat it himself two scenes later. This repetition of the lines shows that the characters themselves believe that there are many foul events taking place. Firstly, one can watch the fair Macbeth degrading into a foul inhuman monster. Secondly, the witches may be contrasted to Macbeth to demonstrate the real foulness in these characters. Thirdly, it can be shown that there is simply no fairness existing in …show more content…

In the beginning, Macbeth has great trouble with the concept of murder, and he regrets killing Duncan - "Wake Duncan with thoust knocking, I would thou couldst"(II.ii.96)! However, by the end of the play, Macbeth shows no sign of his human qualities. He has in fact become quite inhuman and foul.

Sometimes, when one does not look closely enough, one accepts as reality things that are only skin deep. For example, consider the third scene in the first act where Macbeth and Banquo first see the three witches. If one is not watching carefully, one sees only the fair Macbeth talking to the foul witches. However, are the witches really the foul ones? Perhaps Macbeth is the foul one of the group. This is not to say that the witches are fair, but it does say that perhaps they are not the most foul. It would appear to some that the real blackness lies deep within Macbeth, because he is known to be a cold-blooded murderer in the end. On the other hand, it is doubtful that the witches are fair because they seem to take pleasure in turning the mortal world upside down regardless of the mortal's ability to handle crises. Beauty is only skin deep, but the will to do evil is bone deep. This does not mean that the witches are not foul at all. In fact, witches are said to be the lovers of Satan, and they carry with them images of

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