Supernatural In Shakespeare's Macbeth Beyond The Fair And Foul

1101 words - 4 pages

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 Macbeth.  Lastly, one can see that there are too many themes in Shakespeare's Macbeth to be summed up in one line.

 

            Macbeth, in the beginning, is a man of valor, honor and nobility.  With his loyal traits he helps maintain Scotland's stability.  Macbeth, on the outside, seems to be the fairest man in all of Scotland; however such is not true. Under the cloaking shadows of his skin, Macbeth hides his one weakness: ambition.  His wife realizes his ambition and stirs him to act on it.  Macbeth struggles with a choice: should he let the witches' prophecies realize themselves, or should he take the steps necessary to achieve them?  Macbeth knows that the latter choice will involve the murder of his virtuous king Duncan, but even this is not enough to convince him to bide his time. After urging from his wife, he chooses the latter and murders his king.  In doing so, Macbeth disrobes himself of all that is good in the human soul: kindness, courage, honor and love.  Macbeth becomes so obsessed with his pursuit of glory that he turns away from all that he once cherished, even his wife.  Macbeth becomes so blinded by his new robes of the kingdom that he does not even notice that his wife is slipping into insanity.  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...

Find Another Essay On Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth - Beyond the Fair and Foul

Macbeth-Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair

845 words - 3 pages "Fair is Foul, and foul is fair," these lines are the very backbone of Shakespeare's play. This oxymoron aptly describes the macabre status quo within the character Macbeth and without. In other words what seems from outside is not what is from within. The lines are chanted by the three witches at the start of act 1 scene 1. They seem to give a sense of foreboding to the audience of the dark event about to take place. The couplet sets forth the

Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth - Witches and Macbeth

1042 words - 4 pages The Witches and Macbeth       The belief in the existence and power of witches was widely believed in Shakespeare's day, as demonstrated by the European witch craze, during which an estimated nine million women were put to death for being perceived as witches (The Burning Times). The practice of witchcraft was seen to subvert the established order of religion and society, and hence was not tolerated. Witch hunting was a respectable, moral

Elucidation Regarding the Stages Set by, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I: i, 10), in William Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth

1236 words - 5 pages Shakespeare utilizes many paradoxes in The Tragedy of Macbeth to provide entertainment for the audience. The people during the Renaissance loved paradoxes because of their unique structure. In the exposition, the paradoxes the witches present, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I: i, 10), sets the stages of the tragedy because it holds various significant meaning. Literally, the quotation transcends to good is bad, and bad is good; however, it

Comparing the Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Macbeth

939 words - 4 pages Comparing the Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Macbeth             In the time of William Shakespeare there was a strong belief in the existence of the supernatural. Therefore, the supernatural is a recurring theme in many of Shakespeare's plays. In two such plays, Hamlet and Macbeth, the supernatural is an integral part of the structure of the plot. It provides a catalyst for action, an insight into character, and an

Shakespeare's Use of the Supernatural in "Macbeth"

1113 words - 4 pages The supernatural was a popular element in many of the plays written in Shakespeare's time (including Hamlet) and everyone of Shakespeare's time found the supernatural fascinating. Even King James I took a special interest in supernatural and written a book, Daemonologie, on witchcraft. It must be remembered that, in Shakespeare's day, supernatural referred to things that were "above Nature"; things which existed, but not part of the normal human

The Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

1975 words - 8 pages The Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Macbeth In Macbeth the supernatural is used to entertain and terrify the audience. Supernatural things are those that do not belong in the natural world. In Elizabethan times, people were so terrified of the supernatural because they believed that there was a natural order which effectively governed the universe, and when this order was misaligned things would start to go very

Shakespeare's Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth

8038 words - 32 pages Shakespeare's Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth The supernatural is widely used in Macbeth, and covers major sections of it. It is used to generate interest, and to provoke thought and controversy. At the time the play was written, James the 1st was the English monarch. James the 1st was originally James the 4th on the Scottish throne, until there was a union of crowns between England and Scotland in the late

Use of the Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth

651 words - 3 pages Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth In Shakespeare's play The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shakespeare uses an underlying motif of the supernatural to control the characters and add a new dimension to the play. Shakespeare uses a large motif of light vs. darkness throughout the play to present moral choices and religious ideas. When the play opens, there is thunder rolling around and the witches on stage. The thunder is symbolic of darkness and

The Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

852 words - 4 pages The supernatural plays a huge role in the play of Macbeth. There are many different types of supernatural occurrences that take place in this play such as with witches, apparitions, and hallucinations. The supernatural affect all of the characters in the play in different ways, their different personalities often lead to different outcomes then were possibly intended. The witches in Macbeth play a huge role in the story but many people argue

Supernatural Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth

846 words - 3 pages Supernatural Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, imagery plays a key role in the audience's understanding of the theme of the play. One type of imagery that is prevalent in the story is supernatural or unnatural imagery. With the sense of the supernatural and interference of the spirits, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are led to dangerous, tempting things. Macbeth's character changes dramatically from the brave

Supernatural Elements in Shakespeare's Macbeth

2532 words - 10 pages Consider the use that Shakespeare makes of supernatural elements in the play Macbeth. In the Shakespearean era, there was an eruption of superstition and alleged witchcraft. The people of that time had strong hatred for the ‘devil worshiping’ witches and had various trials and tests to determine their fate. Shakespeare used this as inspiration for his play ‘Macbeth’ We see the character of Macbeth go through a personality transformation after

Similar Essays

Shakespeare's Macbeth Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair<Tab/>

1433 words - 6 pages before are now conclusively being brought together into a final decisive statement. One of the most intriguing and all-encompassing themes present in act 1 of Shakespeare's Macbeth is the sharp contrast between good and bad, light and dark, and foul and fair, such as when the witches state "the battle's lost and won (I.I.4)." Furthermore, this themes ties in with the another intriguing theme, the fact that it is horrible to judge someone

Shakespeare's "Macbeth" Foul Is Fair, Fair Is Foul

775 words - 3 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. Throughout the play the reversal of ordinary events and the equivocation of main characters line the plot with a mysterious and inexplicable emotion, which culminates in the brief yet

Title: Fair Is Foul, And Foul Is Fair Macbeth: Who Is The True Villain In The Play?

1330 words - 5 pages “Fair is Foul, and Foul is Fair”"I believe that there is only one story in the world...Humans are caught--in their lives, in their thoughts, in their hungers and ambitions, in their avarice and cruelty, and in their kindness and generosity too--in a net of good and evil...A man, after he has brushed off the dust and chips of his life, will have left only the hard, clean question: Was it good or was it evil? Have I done well--or ill

Macbeth: Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair

1309 words - 5 pages dangerous women, including one beautiful courtesan who so enchanted the emperor that he set the city on fire just to see her laugh. Similarly, in Shakespeare's Macbeth, Lady Macbeth spurs her husband into killing a king. Yet, she is not the only one who is not what she seems. Thus, in Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the characterization of Lady Macbeth, Macbeth, and the witches to illustrate the fairness of the foul and the foulness of the fair. Lady