Appearance Vs Reality Macbeth

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

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

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 him to ‘look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it’(I.v.62-63) when the time comes to kill Duncan , and, at first, he does this rather too well. Similarly, his castle presents a deceptively positive aspect to Duncan when he goes there at Macbeth’s invitation ‘ This castle hath a pleasant seat’( – he has no inklings at all, seemingly, of the evil that awaits him...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 794 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team