Please help explain the theme of Appearance vs. Reality in "Macbeth".Because it's always constructive to know somebody else's point of view, I like to see things differently. It's all...

Please help explain the theme of Appearance vs. Reality in "Macbeth".

Because it's always constructive to know somebody else's point of view, I like to see things differently. It's all about curiosity =)

Expert Answers
amy-lepore eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is much involved in the theme of appearances vs. reality.  Macbeth and Banquo begin by saying, "So fair and foul a day I haven't seen" which is the appearance of a horrible slaughter but the reality of a victory for the home team.  It continues with the witches who appear out of nowhere and who have beards, so are they women or men?  Are they real or imaginary?  The dagger also "appears" to Macbeth, but does it really? Is he seeing things?  Lady Macbeth continues the ruse when she says to her husband, "Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under it."  In addition, the ghost of Banquo wreaks havoc with Macbeth's psyche as well as the apparitions. 

Further, the prophecies are not what they appear to be.  "Fear MacDuff" is obvious, but the other two are not so clearly defined and interpreted.  "No one born of woman can harm Macbeth" is clearly not what is seems.  Macbeth is not safe from someone born of a C-section.  "Macbeth will not fall until Birnam Wood marches to Dunsinane" is equally tricky--the soldiers tear down boughs to protect themselves and therefore "appear" to be part of the forest marching up the hill.

There is much in this play that does not seem true or real.