What are three strong examples of the theme of appearance vs. reality in Macbeth?  

What are three strong examples of the theme of appearance vs. reality in Macbeth?

 

 

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rrteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Appearance is often different from reality in Macbeth. We see one example of this when Duncan arrives at Macbeth's castle. He speaks at length about the pleasantness of Macbeth's home, and is full of praise for Lady Macbeth as a hostess. Lady Macbeth goes to great lengths to make Duncan feel welcome. In reality, however, she and her husband are plotting to murder the King, and the audience knows this. The witches' prophecies also appear different than they actually turn out. For instance, they summon an apparition that tells Macbeth that he cannot be killed except by someone "not of woman born." Taking this to mean that he cannot be killed by any person, Macbeth is unpleasantly surprised to discover that Macduff, who was "untimely ripped" from his mother's womb, fulfills this prophecy. Finally, the apparent transformations of the Macbeths over the course of the play strongly suggest that they were never as they seemed. Lady Macbeth, fearsome, strong, and ruthless in plotting against the King, is a shell of her former self by the time she dies. Macbeth, who appears as a loyal and brave thane early in the play, is a murderous monster driven by his own ambition by the end.