Theme of Fair is Foul in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

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Theme of Fair is Foul in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

'Fair is Foul' is the major theme in Macbeth and is present throughout the play in both the characters and the events. 'Fair is Foul' refers to the contrast of good and evil in the play, since Macbeth commits many evil murders for what seem to be good reasons. There are several false and secretive characters, such as the Witches, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, because of the contradiction of good and evil. Therefore the theme of 'Fair is Foul' is also linked to the theme of appearances being deceiving. As a result of this theme lots of chaos, lies, secrets and total disorder are caused.

The three Witches introduce the theme of 'Fair is Foul' in
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They choose the right moment to approach Macbeth, when he is full of triumph and glory from the recent battle. The witches know exactly what to say and their timing is precise, all three appear to speak and act with one mind. They contradict themselves throughout their predictions that Macbeth will become king, which suggests that things are not what they seem: "Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. Not so happy, yet much happier". It is also a clue to the audience that some extreme events will happen because Macbeth is currently in no position to become king.

Macbeth is intrigued by the Witches and later tells Lady Macbeth that he "burned in desire" to question them. Macbeth asks the witches to stay showing that he is interested in their predictions: "Stay, you imperfect speakers, tell me more." The witches speak dangerous thoughts that Macbeth is thinking himself:

"Present fears Are less than horrible imaginings: My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical Shakes so my single state of man…"

Macbeth's reaction is as if someone has read his mind, whereas Banquo is reluctant to believe the witches and is aware that they are not what they seem. If their predictions were already thoughts in the back of Macbeth's mind, then the witches don't have very much power over him at this