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...