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what statments do witches and macbeth make about "foul and fair"?      ...

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kdp123 | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 31, 2007 at 8:41 AM via web

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what statments do witches and macbeth make about "foul and fair"?       what meaning does each remark have...

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meowmix | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted October 31, 2007 at 1:59 PM (Answer #1)

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In the first act, the witches declare "Fair is foul and foul is fair" (Act 1, scene 1)and Macbeth remarks how the weather is "So foul and fair a day I have not seen" (Act 1, scene 3).  The witches are telling the audience that whatever good is bad and whatever bad is good.  This would set the tone for the rest of the play.  As for Macbeth's line, this is a example of foreshadowing.  He says this line before he and Banquo sees the witches and echoes what the witches say.  Also this line reminds us how the weather can mirror what is happening on stage.  In various parts of the play, characters will remark on the weather and it often reflects the state of the character or Scotland.

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mvmaurno | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

Posted November 1, 2007 at 10:29 AM (Answer #2)

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"Fair is foul and foul is fair" also refers to Macbeth's quest to be king. In order to be "fair" to Macbeth's talents and potential, he must have the opportunity to become king, at least according to Lady Macbeth and, later, Macbeth.  However, the murderous methods employed are a "foul" means to this goal.  In addition, the battle takes place in Dunsinane is "foul" as is all violence; however, in order to bring justice ("fair"), a battle must ensue to strip Macbeth of his tyrannical, murderous reign.

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