Physical Appearance Versus True Personality Depicted In Shakespeare's Macbeth

961 words - 4 pages

Today, the way people present themselves contributes greatly to other’s first impressions. However, these judgments are stereotypical views that have developed overtime throughout society, and judging people by their appearance usually results in an inaccurate view of what is on the inside. Often times, the physical appearance that is bothersome at first glance fades away as one gets to know the person’s true personality. From then on one will realize how important it is to get to know someone before judging them instead of jumping to conclusions prior to actually knowing them. In Shakespeare’s tragedy, Macbeth, the theme of appearances arises multiple times in the judgments made by the witches, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth about physical appearance versus true personality.
In the beginning of the tragedy the witches, who appear disgusting and evil on the outside, present Macbeth with some very surprising news that he will now be the Thane of Cawdor and king over all of Scotland in addition to his original position as Thane of Glamis (1.3. 48-50). Before reaching Macbeth, the witches reveal to the audience the concept of, “fair is foul, and foul is fair” (1.1. 10). At this point the audience senses the literary element of foreshadowing occurring in this play. By following what the witches say, the audience learns that what seems to be good can be bad and what seems to be bad can be good. The witches’ statement is very essential to the theme of appearances in this play because it portrays how the characters in this play should not base their judgments solely on the way a person looks. Keeping this idea of not judging a person based on appearance in mind, it is apparent that Macbeth does not judge the witches based on their ugly and evil exterior. Although the witches are honest when they let Macbeth know he will be king, they tell him for the wrong reason. Knowing that Macbeth’s ambition will take over, the witches tell him this to see how far he will go to make it happen. Even though Macbeth is a loyal and good man in the beginning of the play, he should not have assumed that these evil creatures were telling him this information in order to benefit him without really knowing their background before. Therefore, it is apparent as to why one should not allow people’s appearances to lead them into believing they know their personalities.
Soon after the witches call upon Macbeth to the title of Thane of Cawdor, Macbeth becomes very confused because he does not know that King Duncan has now called him to replace the old Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth questions the witches as to why they “dress [him] in borrowed clothes” (1.3. 109-10). After hearing Macbeth’s questioning, the audience realizes that changing the way someone dresses does not change who they really are inside as a person. Although...

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