Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair

1000 words - 4 pages

"FAIR IS FOUL AND FOUL IS FAIR" AS A THEME IN MACBETH The concept of "Fair is foul and foul is fair" is used throughout Macbeth in many forms. This theme of reversal is heavily reflected in both the characters and events of Macbeth and therefore is the central theme. The first notable example is when the witches introduce the broad application of this concept to us in the first scene. Duncan provides an example of this theme in inter-character relations when he speaks of his relationship with Macbeth. An example of the reversal theme in specific examples of action can be found in Act 3 where Banquo was murdered which was fair but Fleance escaped, which was foul. The final example of the reversal theme was when Ross was responding to Malcom's statement that Siward was preparing to attack Macbeth. All of these examples will illustrate that the reversal theme is predominant in Macbeth.The reversal theme is apparent even when looking at the plot structure of Macbeth in a very general way. A specific example which illustrates the broad application of this theme is in the very first scene of the play where the witches are having a discussion about how they are going to disrupt the life of Macbeth after which they say, "Fair is foul and foul is fair./Hover through the fog and filthy air." This passage is in reference to the general theme of the play. The witches help to create this theme through their influence upon Macbeth. They cause him to gain the crown which is fair, however, they also cause him to gain and preserve his power through murder and deception which is foul. This example shows the use of the reversal theme in the broad spectrum of the plot.The reversal theme is also very apparent in the inter-personal relationships of characters. An example of this is when Duncan was talking to Macbeth and Banquo and promised them great things: "I have begun to plant thee and will labor/To make thee full of growing." This means that Duncan really likes Macbeth and would like to help him. He also refers to Macbeth as "O worthiest cousin!" again showing that he really trusts and admires Macbeth. Duncan's appreciation of Macbeth would be considered fair. A few lines later, though, Duncan grants the title of Prince of Cumberland to Malcolm thus angering Macbeth to the point where he wants to kill Duncan and take the crown for himself which is foul. This example illustrates the existence of the reversal theme in the relationships of the characters and further establishes "Fair is foul and foul is fair" as a central theme of Macbeth.Reversal also occurs in some of the action in Macbeth. A specific example of the "Fair is foul and foul is fair" theme in action was the murder of Banquo. We learn of the events of Banquo's murder when the first Murderer enters the banquet hall at Macbeth's castle and says, "My lord, his (Banquo's)...

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