Please interpret: "Away, and mock the time with fairest show: False face must hide what the false heart doth know" (1.7.94-95).How can I illustrate the symbols in this passage or draw...

Please interpret: "Away, and mock the time with fairest show: False face must hide what the false heart doth know" (1.7.94-95).

How can I illustrate the symbols in this passage or draw the scene? How does the theme run through the rest of the play?

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sagetrieb's profile pic

sagetrieb | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator

Posted on

This quote pertains to the theme that appearances do not necessarily carry the truth, that they can in fact cover, or hide, the truth, or the reality of a situation. Macbeth says this to his wife after she finally convinces him to murder Duncan (1.7.94-95): "Away, and mock the time with fairest show:/False face must hide what the false heart doth know."  From these lines, we understand that Macbeth tells his wife to pretend that all is well, and in this way deceive (or mock) the real situation (the time).  She (and he) must look as if she is happy and a good hostess (false face) even though they both know in their hearts that they are liars and murderers (false heart must know). The theme of appearance vs. reality presents itself through the way in which the witches equivocate information, giving Macbeth enough to tempt him to commit murder but not enough to warn him of the results, and we see it, too, when Macbeth imagines he sees a dagger in front of him before he kills Duncan.  Macbeth asks himself if it is "A dagger of the mind, a false creation,/Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?" (2.1.50-51). This means he wonders if he is imagining it out of his anxiety over the deed he is about to commit. As for showing this symbolically, you could create a mask that shows a happy expression, putting it over your own face, which you would show to look mean. Similarly, you could create a puppet with a monstrous face, then make a mask for it to make it look like an angel.

MACBETH
    I am settled, and bend up
    Each corporal agent to this terrible feat.
    Away, and mock the time with fairest show:
    False face must hide what the false heart doth know. (1.7.94-95)

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amy-lepore's profile pic

amy-lepore | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The primary theme here is the wonderful illusion vs. reality theme.  It's rampant throughout this play: the witches who don't seem real to Banquo and Macbeth since they appear and disappear so quickly and since they have "beards" so that they might be men, although they seem like women to Banquo ("you should be women,/And yet your beards forbid me to interpret/That you are so" (1.3)); the fact that Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to "look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it"; the fact that the witches give Macbeth the truth, but he hears only what he wants to believe (none born of woman can harm Macbeth--he does not consider cesarean section births); the army that conceals its advancement by carrying tree branches and that appears to be an entire forest marching up the hill.

As far as drawing this scene, how about using a Poker game?  All the players at the table are definitely bluffing...putting on their false faces so that others will not be able to discern what they are truly thinking and what cards they are actually holding in their hands.

One idea is to use masks or sunglasses to conceal their true thoughts and feelings.

Sources:

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