What is the meaning of "fair is foul and foul is fair"? Act I scene 1I dunno if this is different from the first question but oh well. How can you tell if a scene is "fair is foul and foul is...

What is the meaning of "fair is foul and foul is fair"? Act I scene 1

I dunno if this is different from the first question but oh well. How can you tell if a scene is "fair is foul and foul is fair?"

Thanks :D

Asked on by ggnato

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kc4u | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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The three witches speak this line together at the close of the opening scene of Macbeth. The line sounds paradoxical because of the syntactic inversion called chiasmus in the line. The two words fair & foul appear and re-appear in this line and the deliberate repetition shows an inversion. The line spoken by the witches in chorus reads like an ambiguous formula thrown into the desert air by the weird sisters so as to strike the key-note of the whole play in which Macbeth, whom the witches want to meet, is going to be an embodiment of both fair & foul. The line with its queer syntactic inversion tends to suggest a deeper moral inversion: Macbeth who is so fair because of his exemplary courage and skill is also so foul because of his evil ambition to usurp the throne by killing king Duncan.

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