Does the statement "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" thoroughly expresses the many themes of Shakespeare’s
‘Macbeth’? The first time we hear the statement is very early in the play when the witches say the exact
line "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" only for Macbeth himself to repeat it very closely two scenes later. This
repetition of the lines shows me that the characters themselves believe that there are many foul events
taking place. In this essay I will endeavour to prove that the above statement doesn’t express ‘Macbeth’
thoroughly. Firstly I will show the fair Macbeth himself degrading into a foul inhuman monster. Secondly,
I will compare the witches to Macbeth to demonstrate the real foulness in these characters. I will then
show why I believe that there simply isn’t any fairness existing in ‘Macbeth’. Then I will point out that
there are simply too many themes in Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ to be summed up in one line.
Macbeth, in the beginning, is a man of valour, honour and nobility. By his loyal traits he helps maintain
Scotland’s stability. Macbeth, on the outside, seems to be the fairest man in all Scotland, however we
know better. Under the cloaking shadows of his skin, Macbeth hides his one weakness - that is ambition.
His wife knows of his ambition and stirs him to act on it. Macbeth struggles with a choice; should he let
the witches prophecies realise themself, or should he take steps to the achieve them. He knows that the
latter choice will involve the murder of his virtuous king Duncan, but even this isn’t enough to sway him as
he, after urging form his wife, chooses the latter. In doing so, Macbeth unrobed himself of all that is good
in the human soul - kindness, courage, honour and love. Macbeth becomes so obsessed with his chase of
glory that he turns away from all that he once cherished, even his wife. Macbeth becomes so blinded by his
new robes of kingdom that he doe!
sn’t even notice his wife slipping away into insanity. In the beginning Macbeth had great trouble with the
concept of murder, he regrets killing Duncan - "Wake Duncan with thoust knocking, I would if I could."
However, by the end of the play Macbeth shows no sign of his human qualities, he has in fact become quite
inhuman, quite foul.
Sometimes if we don’t look carefully we only see things skin deep. Take the scene when Macbeth and
Banquo first see the three witches. If we don’t look carefully we see the fair Macbeth talking to the foul
witches. However, are the witches really the foul ones? I think Macbeth is really the foul one of the party.
This doesn’t say that the witches are fair, but it does say that they are not foul. The real blackness lies deep
within Macbeth. So, who are the fair ones? I can’t really say. I mean Macbeth is not because we know he ...