Discuss the theme of equivocation in Shakespeare's Macbeth.

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In Shakespeare's Macbeth, equivocation plays a central part in bringing about the death of Macbeth.

Equivocation is defined as...

...the misleading use of a term with more than one meaning...

It can also be described as "doublespeak" or "doubletalk," which is…

...language that deliberately disguises, distorts, or reverses the meaning of words.

Its use in Macbeth is intentional, and it refers primarily to the second set of predictions given by the witches. With the first set of predictions, the witches lure him with small truths: calling him by his present title, Glamis, his upcoming "promotion" with an added title of "thane of Cawdor," and finally with the clincher, the man who will be king. (This last prediction might be included as a form of equivocation—they fail to mention that in order to be king, Macbeth must first murder Duncan.)

When Hecate, the queen of the witches, learns that the witches have been trafficking with Macbeth, but only playing with him, she is angry. She wants to be a...

(The entire section contains 596 words.)

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