How do the last few lines of Act I, scene 7 echo the last words of Act I, scene 1 in Macbeth?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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It is the idea of an inverted reality that encompasses the theme of both the first and last scene of Act I.  The closing lines of the first scene reflect the inversion of moral, political, and psychological reality that is seen throughout the drama with the notion of "fair is foul, and foul is fair."  These lines help to bring out that what is might not be what should be and what should be is not what is. The closing lines of the last scene reflect this same inversion of reality:

Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
False face must hide what the false heart doth know.

The contrast between "false face" is one such image of inversion in that the face conceals something opposite underneath it.  At the same time, the "false heart" also brings to light that there is an inversion within the soul of the individual. The notion of "mock the time" and the element of the "show" brings even further credence to the inversion that is such a part of the closing lines of the scene.  Given the fact that Macbeth is the one who speaks the lines, there is a further inversion in that a good and honorable soldier has succumbed to an entrance into the abyss of immorality.  In both sets of closing lines, the first Act has shown itself to be one where moral justice and political order is entering a realm of perversion and a domain where it will become twisted and mangled from its original form.

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