How does Macbeth relate to the theme "Things are not always what they seem" ?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Macbeth finds out that things are not always what they seem. He begins as a soldier fighting for King Duncan and Scotland. He seems content to be a fierce soldier. King Duncan bestows honor upon Macbeth for his outstanding military service. Then Macbeth changes. He begins to covet the throne that belongs to King Duncan.

Macbeth is not as loyal to King Duncan as it would have seemed. After the witches plant "black and deep desires" into Macbeth's heart, things are not what they seem.

It would seem that Macbeth has invited King Duncan to his home to share a meal and celebrate the military victory. Macbeth has other plans for King Duncan. He plans to murder King Duncan at his home. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth appear to be entertaining the King, but both have evil plans that will bring an upset to the throne of Scotland.

Then it appears that Macbeth has changed his mind. He tells Lady Macbeth that they will proceed no further into the business of murdering King Duncan:

We will proceed no further in this business.
He has recently honored me, and I now have the
Golden opinions from all sorts of people,
Which I want to enjoy for a bit longer, and
Not cast them aside so soon.

Things are not what they seem. Macbeth has changed his mind. He no longer desires to murder King Duncan. Of course, Lady Macbeth will not take no for an answer. She challenges Macbeth's manhood and convinces him to proceed with the murdering of King Duncan. It appears that Lady Macbeth is more interested in the the throne than Macbeth.

When Lady Macbeth gets what she wants, it appears that she is not happy with her position. She cannot wash the bloodstains from her hands. Things are not what they seem to be. Lady Macbeth is not basking in the honor of being queen of Scotland. She is losing her sanity. Being queen is not as wonderful as it once seemed.

As Lady Macbeth loses her mind, Macbeth is finding out that being king is not to be a coveted position as he had once anticipated. Truly, things are not always what they seem.

In the end, Macbeth loses his wife in death. He faces death himself. Things are not what they always seemed to be. Macbeth has lost everything he had hoped to gain. Macduff beheads Macbeth. The end is not what Macbeth had once thought it would be.