One of the earliest instances of things seeming to be much fairer than what initially meets the eye occurs in Act 1 when King Duncan goes to Macbeth’s castle in Glamis. Upon the arrival of the king at her husband’s castle, Lady Macbeth masquerades as in incredibly hospitable hostess to the king and his men by accentuating her gratitude towards Duncan for all of the honors he has bestowed on them. The irony of her behavior is that she was just previously discussing the manner in which Macbeth should murder Duncan so he could become king thus, revealing her charming façade to have “foul” intentions under a more critical analysis. Duncan, however, falls for her act, and he continues to show his gratitude by proclaiming compliments such as, “See see, our honored hostess!” (1, VI). Likewise, this would not be the first occasion in Macbeth where characters mistake the goals of another.
Pursuing this further, late into the play, Macduff travels to ...view middle of the document...
Macduff then returned in the final Act aided in battle by the English army, led by Malcolm. Together they were able to organize an attack on Macbeth’s castle, which, consequently, gave Macduff the opportunity to duel Macbeth one-on-one. This ultimately resulted in Maduff’s decapitation of King Macbeth therefore, ending his tyrannical rule, and this showed that Macduff had “fair” motives though his action seemed “foul” at first. Macbeth, on the contrary, appeared to be a noble man, though he secretly had an amoral agenda.
Undoubtedly, Macbeth himself was the prime subject of “fair” being “foul” in its essence. Early into the play, the three weird sisters engrossed Macbeth by prophesying that he may eventually become king of Scotland. These predictions seemed “fair” upon first hearing it despite being delivered by witches, creatures typically seen in relation to the Devil at the time. Macbeth quickly realized he would need to act more proactively to insure he would become king as Duncan soon announced Malcolm was the heir to the throne. At that time, Lady Macbeth advises her husband to “Look the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t” (1, V). This subsequently led Macbeth to commit regicide by stabbing Duncan. As a result, both Malcolm and Donalbain fled, thus, leaving Macbeth in responsibility of being the ruler of Scotland. While in his supremacy Macbeth’s paranoia and guilt sustained, which, led him to have to continue killing more people to keep his secret unknown. In fear of Banquo’s son, Fleance, becoming king as the witches also prophesied, Macbeth went so far as to hire serfs to murder his best friend and his son to insure Macbeth kept his authority. This killing spree lasted until Macduff finally beheaded Macbeth during their encounter. Macbeth was incised by the “fair” idea of being king, which led him down a dark path of “foul” acts to fulfill his prophecy.
“See see, our honored hostess!” (1, VI).
“Sirrah, your father’s dead. And what will you do now? How will you live?” (4, II).
“Look the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t” (1, V).