Appearance Vs Reality Macbeth

Using specific examples, discuss the theme of appearance versus reality in Macbeth.

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The theme of appearance versus reality is central to Macbeth. It pertains to Macbeth himself as he is first introduced as a nobleman, a fearless warrior who renders worthy service to his king – yet this same man is then revealed to have murderous thoughts in his heart, capable of plotting against his king and usurping the throne.  On the outside, he presents an impeccable face to the world, so that no-one suspects, but when alone, or meeting privately with his wife – who actively encourages him in his murderous ambitions – we see the reality behind his public façade. Lady Macbeth counsels...

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fieryangel | Student

At the beginning of the play, when Macbeth and Banquo meet the witches, Banquo says that Macbeth "seems rapt withal" upon hearing the prophecy. He appeared taken aback by the prophecy that stated that he shall become king. He seemed to be very innocent as he looked surprised. However, in his head he thought of "murder" which was still "fantastical". In reality, he was thinking about murdering King Duncan to achieve kingship.

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samsammons | Student

"and make our faces vizards to our hearts, disguising what they are." -Macbeth

macbeth realizes that he has to flatter banquo and hide how much he really hates him and how bad he wants to kill him.

 

"false face must hide what the false heart doth know." -Macbeth

hide with a false pleasant face what you know in your false evil heart... Macbeth is telling Lady Macbeth to act as if nothing is wrong (after they kill duncan.)

 

"woe, alas! what, in our house?" -Lady Macbeth

lady macbeth acts like she is upset and concerned when she finds out that duncan is dead...... even though she killed him.

 

 

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roboticmonsters | Student

Another example to add is when Lady Macbeth plans out the murder for King Duncan. She tells Macbeth to hide their true intensions.

Lady Macbeth: "Only look up clear;

To alter favour ever us to fear."

Meaning raise your eyes and look confident. A change in the way one looks reveals fear and further arouses suspicion.

Macbeth as well tells himself: "False face must hide what the false heart doth know."

Also when Macbeth and Banquo arrive and meet the witches for the first time, Macbeth says: "So foul and fair a day I have not seen."

When Macbeth is told the 3 prophecies he will possess by the witches, he is unsure. Banquo says: "Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear things that do sound so fair?" Meaning why do you fear of these great titles when they sound so good.

Little do they know, in order to get the third title, king of Scotland, Macbeth goes through countless dangerous actions and is soon lead by his downfall.

When Malcolm and Donalbain flee the country after their fathers death, suspicion is put on them for the murder.

When Macduff leaves to England to seek help from Malcolm, Malcolm is unsure of Macduff's loyalty. Therefore he tests Macduff, and in the end Malcolm learns that Macduff truly is loyal and wants what is best for his country.

Also the apparition of no man born of woman can harm Macbeth. Macbeth is convinced that no one can harm him since every human being is born of a woman. But Macduff was not naturaly born of a woman. Either caesarian or premature delivery occured therefore he ended the life of Macbeth.

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asher4heart | Student

Three major themes our brit-lit teacher gave us were:

Equivocation=double meaning

 Regicide=the killing of a king

                    -this is important because they believed in divine right back in the Elizabethan times

 

Order=when the king is killed it messed up the order of the world because the king was supposed to be chosen by God (divine right). Therefore if you killed the king you 'slapped God in the face'

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jailhousesmile | Student

\"The terror the tragedy inspires is due to the abyss that lies between the inner natures of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and the murder which they perpetrate\" J.J. Chapman, \"A Glance toward Shakespeare\"
The disparity between M\'s and LM\'s words and actions; After killing Duncan M overdecorates (II.iii.4-13), the banquet scene (III.iv) in which M’s words belie his knowledge of Banquo\'s death. Or their actions and understandings: a character able to express such convincing horror before Duncan\'s murder would likely be incapable of committing the crime.
Equivocation itself. Equivocation is very relevant to the context of the play. You can use the Porter scene, all the witch’s prophesies and the witches themselves (beards but women, call their \"masters\" to them as servants etc).
The disparity between M\'s perception of reality and ...well... everyone else’s. Is it supernatural or M\'s guiltridden hallucinations?
The larger theme of inverted natural order. It is often considered that as M hides from his guilt in false hospitality his inner nature, once \"full of the milk of human kindness\" and now tormented, is embodied in the developing inhospitality and degradation of the natural world, (IV.iii & II.iv). The natural world appears foul but is fair (warning people), M\'s artifice appears fair but is really foul (hiding his murderous intent)

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