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The Downfall Of Macbeth Essay

1510 words - 6 pages

The Downfall of Macbeth through the Theme of Appearances versus Reality
When otherwise intelligent people observe an action or listen to an address, they normally are inclined to believe and accept the idea presented without probing or questioning the matter at hand. Though such a phenomenon is common practice it also is a form of deception. While some do carry, the perception not to believe everything that is seen many do lack that very skill. Such lack of insight leads to a dumfounded consequence of blindness which often results in tragedy. In writing, writers want their audience to believe their presented idea without a doubt and they achieve this effect normally through their usage of rhetoric. For William Shakespeare, how characters respond this sort of “Out of sight out of Mind” thinking exposes a great deal about the characters. How characters respond when they differentiate between appearance and reality tells the audience how the characters are influenced and how they think. This kind of plot strategy that Shakespeare incorporates involves a skillful display of rhetoric that is almost never-ending. In result, Shakespeare’s plot strategy springs from characters who are being deceived by someone else. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a play that can be considered a prime example of such a plot strategy. The play demonstrates many major themes, which in unison cause the downfall of his main character – Macbeth. Through this process, Shakespeare is able to influence his audience by telling them a story that reveals how the noblest of characters can be infected by the smallest of ideas. In the world of Macbeth, the theme of appearance versus reality plays a predominant role in not only influencing Macbeth’s actions but also in his downfall. The theme of “Appearance versus Reality” is the way characters distinguish between what is displayed from them and what that particular exhibit really is; appearances versus deception. Shakespeare makes this particular theme clear by the manner he incorporates soliloquies. However, the theme of “things are not what they seem” leads to the downfall of Macbeth through the influence of the three witches, Banquo’s ghost, and Macbeth himself.
The most evident way that Shakespeare establishes the theme of appearance versus reality is through the three witches, first introduced in Act 1. In Act one as Macbeth meets the witches, the witches introduce Macbeth to the idea of deceptiveness of appearances, which continues throughout the play. As the witches introduce this idea, they also brought about confusion, which infects the natural order of the entire play. Night becomes day, king Duncan’s horses eat each other, and owls kill hawks. The witches introduce such a disorder through an infectious idea that promises Macbeth (who is currently the thane of Glaimis) the titles of Thane of Cawdor and eventually King. In the word of the witches “fair is foul [and] foul is fair” (I, I, 10), or nothing is as it seems. Macbeth...

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