Appearances Vs Reality Macbeth Essay Topic

Macbeth Appearance Vs Reality Essay Examples

Macbeth - Appearance Vs. Reality Essay

1212 words - 5 pages Macbeth Appearance versus reality Niccolo Machiavelli is famous for saying: “For the great majority of mankind are satisfied with appearances, as though they were realities, and are more often influenced by the things that ’seem’ than by those that ‘are.’Appearance vs. reality in Shakespeare is a jaded theme in Macbeth. As King Duncan himself says “there’s no art to find the mind’s construction in the face,” the play is full of characters with duplicity as things aren’t always what they ‘seem’ (1/4/20). The witches and their prophecies, throughout the play are not what they ‘seem.’ When Macbeth is returning with Banquo and they see the witches in their path, Banquo is confused... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance and Reality in Shakespeare's Macbeth

1198 words - 5 pages Macbeth:  Appearance and Reality The theme of appearance versus reality is very important in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The characters of Duncan, Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth are unable to differentiate between appearance and reality, resulting in tragic consequences. Poor judgment is evidenced by Duncan, who trusts Macbeth too much; Lady Macbeth, who is fooled by the witches; and Macbeth, who is tricked repeatedly by others.          King Duncan trusts Macbeth too much. Macbeth appears as a superhero and faithful to King Duncan. He fights against the traitor Macdonwald, and he helps the king to solve a great problem that wins the war. Duncan trusts Macbeth very much because of... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality Essay

505 words - 2 pages APPEARANCE VS. REALITY Throughout the play, the reoccurring images of appearance vs. reality are found mainly in Act I and Act II. They mostly occur around King Duncan’s murder. Lady Macbeth constantly instructs her husband Macbeth, for hiding his real nature behind a fake appearance of the face. Earlier in Macbeth, the image is also portrayed when Duncan discovers there’s no way you can actually note what the mind is secretly thinking by examining the face. Appearance vs. reality is associated with masking (in the sense of hiding your real emotions behind the ‘fake’ ones), keeping secrets, and maintaining a disguise. It is also associated with various people such as Macbeth, Lady Macbeth,... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality? Essay

1698 words - 7 pages One of the most fundamental questions in philosophy is the one of appearance vs. reality. We find ourselves asking the question of what is genuinely "real," and what is viewed merely as just an "appearance," and not real? It becomes difficult when we assume there is a difference in the two to determine which is which. Generally, what we label as "real" is regarded as external and eternal. What we refer to as just an appearance is regarded as temporary and internal. Many early as well as modern day authors use the theme of appearance vs. reality to portray a character in a certain way.The theme of Appearance vs. Reality is extremely noted in Williams Shakespeare's Hamlet. This play... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance Vs. Reality Essay

981 words - 4 pages One of the characteristics of Realism, in American literature at least, is the ironic use of perceptions of “appearance” vs. “reality.” With this in mind, Henry James’s “The Real Thing” and “The Beast in the Jungle” are two works wherein such characteristics can be shown to operate as James employs cleverly woven twists of “appearance” and “reality” in each of the plots. In James’s “The Real Thing,” the plot is centered on an unnamed artist and his interactions with two sets of models: the Monarchs (members of genteel society), and Miss Churm and Oronte (members of the working class). The ironically named Monarchs are a couple who appear as though they have “ten thousand a year” but whose... VIEW DOCUMENT

Hamlet - Appearance vs. Reality. Essay

1701 words - 7 pages Hamlet - Appearance vs. Reality- Hamlet one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, where the young prince of Denmark must uncover the truth about his fathers death. Hamlet a play that tells the story of a young prince who's father recently died. Hamlets uncle Claudius marries his mother the queen and takes the throne. As the play is told Hamlet finds out his father was murdered by the recently crowned king. The theme that remains constant throughout the play is appearance versus reality. Things within the play appear to be true and honest but in reality are infested with evil. Many of the characters within the play hide behind a mask of falseness. Four of the main characters that hid behind... VIEW DOCUMENT

appearance vs reality Essay

708 words - 3 pages Appearance vs. Reality      Things are not always as they appear. You may think someone is a certain way because of how they dress and carry themselves this is called stereotyping. Many people stereotype without even noticing that they are doing it. Everyone has his or her right to first impressions, but stereotyping is wrong. There are many examples of this topic in literature as well as in our society today. The main population accused of stereotyping is teenagers; they are seen as rude and judgmental. For example, in high school the people are divided into groups by how they dress and whom they hang out with. There are the skaters, freaks, preps, snobs,... VIEW DOCUMENT

Shakespeare "Hamlet" - Appearance vs. Reality.

1541 words - 6 pages Hamlet - Appearance vs. RealityHamlet one of Shakespeare's greatest plays, where the youngprince of Denmark must uncover the truth about his fathers death.Hamlet a play that tells the story of a young prince who's fatherrecently died. Hamlets uncle Claudius marries his mother the queenand takes the throne. As the play is told Hamlet finds out his fatherwas murdered by the recently crowned king. The theme that remainsconezt throughout the play is appearance versus reality. Thingswithin the play appear... VIEW DOCUMENT

Henry IV: Appearance vs. Reality Essay

1263 words - 5 pages 1: Henry IV: AAppearance vs. Reality'Shakespeare's play Henry IV begins with a king (King Henry) beginning a pilgrimage after killing King Richard II. Henry believes that by gaining the throne of England he has done an honourable deed, yet he admits that the fighting and bloodshed could continue, A. . . ill sheathed knife . . . @ (I.1.17). He, also, admits that his own son, Prince Hal, is not honourable enough to occupy the throne, Asee riot and dishonour stain the brow of my young Harry' (I.1.17).Shakespeare continues the topos of honour and redemption into Act three, scene two,... VIEW DOCUMENT

Hamlet theme of appearance vs. reality

901 words - 4 pages Shakespeare examines the theme of appearance and reality in his book-Hamlet. The dilemma of what is "real" is established at the very beginning of the play. Hamlet doesn’t know what to believe and devises a plan to find out. The old king Hamlet appears to be bitten by a snake, but in reality he was poisoned, the ghost appears as an apparition, but it’s actually real, and the play-with-in-a-play strongly depicts the theme of appearance vs. reality.      The dead King appears to have been bitten by a snake. In reality, he has been poisoned. Everyone believes that the king died from snakebite, but once Hamlet knows the truth he is unsettled by the... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality in William Shakespeare's Hamlet

1502 words - 6 pages Appearance vs. Reality in William Shakespeare's Hamlet In Hamlet, one of Shakespeare's greatest tragedies, there is a prevailing theme that is concurrent throughout the play. Throughout the play, all the characters appear to be one thing on the outside, yet on the inside they are completely different. The theme of appearance versus reality is prominent in Hamlet because of the fact that the characters portray themselves different from what they really are. In the play, Claudius, Hamlet's uncle, appears to be a caring, moderate man on the outside, but he is using his loving personality to mask his true traits of a selfish, mean, cold-hearted murderer. The... VIEW DOCUMENT

Twelfth Night Essay: Appearance vs. Reality

1099 words - 4 pages William Shakespeare's, Twelfth Night has many themes, but appearance vs. reality is the theme that illustrates a different picture from two perspectives, there are many characters behind their masks and disguises. Some are hiding love behind these disguises and some are trying to show their love through a different disguise. They both still being servants are using disguise differently. Malvolio, servant of Olivia, falls in love with the trap (the letter) thinking his lady likes him, and to show his love he uses a different appearance to express it. Viola, servant of Orsino, falls in love with him, but secretly, not wanting to express her love for him, because of her disguise as her barrier... VIEW DOCUMENT

Hamlet by William Shakespeare: Appearance vs. Reality

773 words - 3 pages Appearance vs. RealityThroughout several tragic and upsetting events, Hamlet witnesses his loyalty and honesty betrayed by both friends and foes. Shakespeare's Hamlet, tells a story of the young prince of Denmark who find the truth about his father, and then seek revenge. Hamlet's uncle Claudius marries his mother, the queen, taking Hamlet's father's place as king, who has passed away with an unknown cause. Not to his surprise, Hamlet later finds that it was his step-father who killed King Hamlet. Events within the play appear to be... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality in Shakespeare's Hamlet

503 words - 2 pages Appearance vs. Reality in Shakespeare's Hamlet In Hamlet deceiving illusions are frequently used to protect truth from being a destructive force. Situations within acts one and two that appear to be true and honest are really contaminated with evil. Various characters within the first two acts hide behind masks of corruption. In the first two acts most characters presented seem to be good and honest making it a complex task for Hamlet to discover all the lies that have hidden objectives within them.      Shakespeare brilliantly depicts appearance verses reality in many ways. The first of many scenes where the truth is twisted is when the new supposed king is addressing Denmark.... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus

1094 words - 4 pages Appearance vs. Reality in Peter Shaffer's Amadeus In the world of the 18th century, appearance was everything; and appearance often conflicted with reality. Such is the case in Peter Shaffer’s, Amadeus, which follows Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s musical career. Mozart’s career was enveloped in deceit and falsity, appearing to be brought on by poor choices he made, when all along he was being sabotaged by Salieri. When Mozart arrives in Vienna, Antonio Salieri pretends to welcome him. He even writes a welcome March for Mozart, to be played as the young, rebellious musician enters the court. However, Salieri hates Mozart from the beginning. Salieri is nice to Mozart’s... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality in Sedgwick's Hope Leslie

847 words - 3 pages Appearance vs. Reality in Sedgwick's Hope Leslie        In her novel, Hope Leslie, Catharine Maria Sedgwick supplants the importance of strict adherence to religious tenets with the significance the human conscience and following one's own heart. This central theme of the novel is intimated to the reader in the scene where Sir Philip Gardiner, a character that completely defies this ideal, is described. Although he "had a certain erect and gallant bearing that marks a man of the world . . . his dress was strictly puritanical" (124). In other words, even though his demeanor is completely unlike that of a puritan, he adheres to the outward seeming of one. The scene describes in detail... VIEW DOCUMENT

Apperance Vs. Reality in MacBeth

959 words - 4 pages Appearance Versus RealityThe way people act on the outside and who they really are on the inside may be two totally different things. Some may change because they feel they don't fit in. Others pretend to be something they truly aren't. No matter which way you look at it, if you try to act like someone your not, the truth will always appear in the end. That is exactly what happened in William Shakespeare's play, MacBeth. Banquo, MacBeth,... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality; The Cause of a Hero’s Downfall

1104 words - 4 pages In the tragedy Macbeth; the reader witnesses the inevitable downfall of the tragic hero Macbeth as he attempts to do the impractical. While Macbeth turns from an admirable nobleman into the traitor fiend that is the result of his wife’s relentless coaxing, the reader distinguishes more and more of the “appearance versus reality” or the “things are not what they seem” theme that intertwines with Macbeth’s hubris thus leading to his downfall. As Macbeth furthers his plans, which fall in step with the weird sisters’ prophecy, he uses, “False face must hide what the false heart doth know,” (Macbeth, Act1.Scene7.Line82) in order to deceive his fellow noblemen and fulfill the prophecy of his... VIEW DOCUMENT


1608 words - 6 pages 3. Reality and appearances, or if you prefer, being and acting, are important themes for both Machiavelli and Shakespeare. Why? How do their perspectives on this subject agree or differ?APPEARANCE vs. REALITY IN "THE PRINCE" AND "HAMLET"One of the most fundamental questions in philosophy is the appearance vs. reality. We find ourselves asking the question of what is genuinely "real," and what is viewed merely as just an "appearance," and not real? It becomes difficult when we assume there is a difference in the two to determine which is which. Generally, what we label as "real" is regarded as external and eternal. What we refer to as just an appearance is regarded as... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs Reality in Othello by William Shakespeare

620 words - 2 pages Appearance vs Reality is one of the most fundamental and oldest philosophical themes in human history. All people live their lives relying on their knowledge and perception, and are thus bound to them. These boundaries are what they tend to accept as "reality". However, knowledge and perception are both vague concepts; as a consequence, their reality could be nothing more than a mere mirage shaped by their beliefs. William Shakespeare, one of the most renowned writers of the English Language, knew of the connection between appearance and reality and often provided his characters with multiple personalities in order to depict them in a specific fashion. In Shakespeare's play Othello, the... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs Reality in A Streetcar Named Desire

1073 words - 4 pages Appearance vs Reality in A Streetcar Named DesireDavid G. Myers, a psychologist, once said that " there is an objective reality out there, but we view it through the spectacles of our beliefs, attitudes, and values." In the play "A streetcar Named Desire" by Tennessee Williams there is a recurring theme of appearance against reality. This is mostly noticed in the three main characters' roles. Blanche DuBois, Stella Kowalski and Stanley Kowalski all have an appearance at the beginning of the play that by the end... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

1315 words - 5 pages Appearance vs. Reality in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, the theme of appearance versus reality is recurrent. Austen seeks to prove that often one’s appearance hides one’s true character. This thematic concept is clearly evident in the case of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham and how they appear to Elizabeth Bennett. From her first impressions of both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham, Elizabeth comes to misguided conclusions about their true character. Elizabeth spends most of the novel reevaluating her stance regarding both of these characters. She later comes to realize that her respective judgements of Mr.Darcy and Mr. Wickham are profoundly inaccurate... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality, Isolation, and Good Can Come from Evil in The Scarlet Letter

1193 words - 5 pages Throughout The Scarlet Letter, the reader knows that Pearl is the result of Hester’s and Dimmesdale’s sin, but does she have play a more important role in the novel? For instance, some readers may understand Pearl’s part in displaying the themes of this novel. In the beginning of the novel, Hester commits adultery with Dimmesdale and has who she names Pearl. Dimmesdale suffers because he keeps his sin a secret, while Hester is unable to and is punished for it. Dimmesdale also suffers because he never builds a connection with Pearl: In the end of the novel, though, when he dies, Pearl accepts him and kisses him. Later, Pearl becomes one of the richest women in the world, gets married, has a... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs reality theme

891 words - 4 pages Romeo and Juliet written by William Shakespeare is one of the most popular plays in history of literature. It portrays about romantic sad story of two young people who fall in love with each other, unfortunately their love faces lots of dramatic and ironic speculators then; ultimately their love story ends with a sad ending. Not only two young people’s sadly dramatic love story is the only one selling point of the whole show but also along the story, Shakespeare creates lots of interesting scenarios and themes which attracts many audiences to his play. In which “appearance and reality” is one of the themes well portrayed through the play. Things are not always what they seem to be ,... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance Vs Reality in Hamlet

855 words - 3 pages One of the most famous and popular authors and scriptwriters is William Shakespeare. Shakespeare has always been ableto create interesting characters and one of the reasons they areso interesting might be that they are complex people with theirinner selves differing from their outer selves. Are thecharacters in Hamlet the same on the inside as they appear to beon the outside? The characters in William Shakespeare's Hamletcan be studied in a manner... VIEW DOCUMENT

Duality and Appearance vs. reality in Hamlet

1378 words - 6 pages Throughout history there has been a general understanding that appearances can be deceiving. A person may go through life without anyone understanding the true reality of there character. William Shakespeare, one of the greatest writers of all time, understood the relationship between appearance and reality and often gave characters two sides to their personality. In Shakespeare's tragic play, Hamlet, a young prince is left to reveal the truth of his father's death. Hamlet discovers that his father was murdered by his uncle Claudius, who recently was crowned king and married his mother. The theme that... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality in Sedgwick's Hope Leslie

837 words - 3 pages In her novel, Hope Leslie, Catharine Maria Sedgwick supplants the importance of strict adherence to religious tenets with the significance the human conscience and following one's own heart. This central theme of the novel is intimated to the reader in the scene where Sir Philip Gardiner, a... VIEW DOCUMENT

Essay on Appearance vs Reality in Othello and Twelfth Night

811 words - 3 pages Appearance versus Reality in Othello and Twelfth Night       Shakespeare cleverly uses the art of disguise, in both his tragedies and his comedies, in order to employ a literary device known as dramatic irony, where the audience members are aware of something (in this case the true identity of characters) that characters in the play are not. This, of course, creates tension in a play and excites the audience; actions take place on the stage, of which the audience knows the import, but characters on the stage do not. It also creates a setting for a great deal of irony where characters make comments that take on a double meaning.   Two examples of characters who utilize such... VIEW DOCUMENT

Jane Austen's "Pride and Prejudice" Appearance vs. Reality

1274 words - 5 pages In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, the theme of appearance versus reality is recurrent. Austen seeks to prove that often one's appearance hides one's true character. This thematic concept is clearly evident in the case of Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham and how they appear to Elizabeth Bennett. From her first impressions of both Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham, Elizabeth comes to misguided conclusions about their true character. Elizabeth spends most of the novel reevaluating her stance regarding both of these characters. She later comes to realize that her respective judgements of Mr.Darcy and Mr. Wickham... VIEW DOCUMENT

Biily Budd by Herman Melville- Appearance vs Reality

999 words - 4 pages The True CharacterUsually, one would judge others at first sight by their appearance and first impressions then make an initial inference about them. Through the interaction and conversation one had with people, they might not be able to decipher between what was the truth and what was untrue. Herman Melville, through his novel Billy Budd conveyed the theme of appearance versus reality in the novel's three main characters.... VIEW DOCUMENT

Appearance vs. Reality - Was Piscine (Pi) Patel's journey across the Pacific just another story, or was it the truth?

1334 words - 5 pages Most members of a society experience a tragic event; for example, the loss of a friend, loved one, etc. Yann Martel's novel Life of Pi tells the story of Piscine (Pi) Patel, an Indian boy named after a pool in France, who sets sail with his family towards Canada, with their father's collection of zoo animals. As soon their boat reached the open Pacific, it sank. Pi managed to get aboard a lifeboat where he was stranded for 227 days, with a wounded zebra, and orangutan, a hyena, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger named Richard Parker. But the question is, did VIEW DOCUMENT

Use of the Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth

651 words - 3 pages Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth In Shakespeare's play The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shakespeare uses an underlying motif of the supernatural to control the characters and add a new dimension to the play. Shakespeare uses a large motif of light vs. darkness throughout the play to present moral choices and religious ideas. When the play opens, there is thunder rolling around and the witches on stage. The thunder is symbolic of darkness and gives the audience the first impression that the play will not be ordinary. The witches who only appear in darkness, elements of the supernatural, are one of Shakespeare's classic ways of catching the audience's attention and of also setting the mood... VIEW DOCUMENT

Macbeth's Demise Due To Concerns Of The Supernatural

946 words - 4 pages The play "Macbeth" explores the tragic demise of the protagonist Macbeth due to the concerns of the supernatural, guilt and his "vaulting ambition" The world of the play is one of war, death and heroes, it is difficult to distinguish between appearance and reality.We experience and are witness to the mental and emotional turmoil of Macbeth, a man who is lured into evil and endures the consequences due to his encounters with the supernatural.The use of the supernatural in the... VIEW DOCUMENT

Themes in macbeth

1552 words - 6 pages In Shakespeare's Macbeth, Shakespeare is able to develop many major themes in the play; he uses different techniques to put emphasis on certain issues in order to help develop these themes in the story line of the play. The major themes of Macbeth are the significance of evil, the dangers of ambition, and appearance versus reality. The major techniques that Macbeth uses include foreshadowing, symbolism, and irony. In using these techniques skillfully, Shakespeare is able to develop a plot and clearly define some themes.The play commences with three eerie witches chanting spells, they plan to meet someone named Macbeth then vanish; already we know that the play is going to be... VIEW DOCUMENT

Macbeth - Shakespeare's Greatest Work

1196 words - 5 pages Macbeth, 1605 drama play was directed by Will O’Hare and written by William Shakespeare (who inscribed thirty-seven plays and hundred fifty-four sonnets during his time era) starring Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, The Three Witches, Banquo, King Duncan, Macduff and Malcolm. Macbeth is based on actual events that occurred in the 11th century which took place in two countries known as Scotland and England. Macbeth plays a vicious role in this enthralling play to seek power for the satisfaction of his inner desire by killing his own group of people to fulfill the prophecy told by the wicked witches. Macbeth soon finds out that violence leads to more violence and soon he is feared by others that the... VIEW DOCUMENT

The Character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play

2433 words - 10 pages The Character of Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Play The Task: Discuss Shakespeare’s presentation of Lady Macbeth in Act 1 Scene 5 and Act 5 Scene 1 of ‘Macbeth.’ Account for the changes and differences you notice and suggest how a contemporary as well as a modern audience might respond to these scenes. Shakespeare’s shortest and bloodiest tragedy, Macbeth tells the story of a brave Scottish general (Macbeth) who receives a prophecy from a trio of sinister witches that one day he will become king of Scotland. Consumed with ambitious thoughts and urged to action by his wife, Macbeth murders King Duncan and seizes the throne for himself. He begins... VIEW DOCUMENT

Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

1797 words - 7 pages Shakespeare manipulates the audience’s opinions on whom was most responsible for the death of Duncan in many ways, I feel he does this to create question and surprise to the play. Shakespeare leads you along one path of thought, to then divert your thoughts onto another. Many people have different opinions and interpretations to this play; A.C Bradley once wrote “Lady Macbeth is the most commanding and perhaps the most awe-inspiring figure that Shakespeare drew. Sharing, as we have seen, certain traits with her husband she is at once clearly distinguished from him by an inflexibility of will, which appears to hold imagination, feeling, and conscience completely in check. To her the... VIEW DOCUMENT

Ambition in Macbeth

1777 words - 7 pages In the play of “Macbeth”, Shakespeare gradually and effectively deepens our understanding of the themes and most importantly the relationship between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The main theme of Macbeth is ambition, and how it compels the main characters to pursue it. The antagonists of the play are the three witches, who symbolise the theme appearance and reality. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s relation is an irony throughout the play, as most of their relation is based on greed and power. This is different from most of Shakespeare’s other plays, which are mostly based on romance and trust. There is also guilt that leads Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to the final consequences of the play. As the... VIEW DOCUMENT

Macbeth vs. the Soviet Macbeth

1120 words - 4 pages Thesis: In Rupert Goold’s PBS version of Macbeth, he compares and contrasts the original Shakespearean play with the communistic dictator Macbeth of the modern day Soviet Union as portrayed by Sir Patrick Stewart. We can compare the Macbeth and the Soviet Macbeth in their vocal deliverances of their personal soliloquies. Both of their delivers are persuading and make you feel an emotional connection with the character. These soliloquies show that both men are thinking and are forming personal ideas. These personal thoughts spark ambition which puts the play in motion. When Macbeth and Banquo ride home from battle they stop and rest. This is where Macbeth delivers his first personal... VIEW DOCUMENT

Recurring Motifs and Themes: "Macbeth"

1907 words - 8 pages * Ambition and Betrayal. Thematically, Macbeth is seen as warning of the dangers of ambition, showing that ambition can be a morally corrupting agent. Ambition can be seen as Macbeth's tragic flaw: it consumes him - ironically, by the end of the play, it consumes him in the other sense of the word. Betrayal goes hand-in-hand with ambition, and it is another theme: Macbeth betrays both his own king and his friend by killing Duncan and then Banquo, respectively. Interestingly, Macbeth's murder of Duncan early in the play, an act of treason, (Act II, Scene 2) Then later, in the middle of the play (Act 3) the murder of Banquo emphasizes the thematic importance of the murder of Duncan.... VIEW DOCUMENT

Macbeth is a play for all time. Write an argument for or against.

3310 words - 13 pages Macbeth is a play for all timeShakespeare's Macbeth, written in the Elizabethan period, is still immensely popular and is performed by theatres all over the world today. It has been adopted by many cultures and still has the ability to engage the audience's attention and entertain us. The characters, settings, plot, themes, language and context have appealed to its audience throughout time. Macbeth will always have the ability to connect with people and reflect human traits and development, through its historical context and themes of ambition, appearance vs. reality, the supernatural and masculinity. Macbeth has a contemporary significance; it shows the perplexity of life and the... VIEW DOCUMENT

Illusion versus Reality

1095 words - 4 pages Illusion versus Reality Illusion versus reality is often referred to as deception of appearances. This is when something or something portrays itself as what it is not. Just like disguise, deception of appearances is an appearance in order to conceal one's true attitude or identity. This is related to the idiom "Do not judge a book, by its cover" and the metaphor "A wolf in sheep's clothing." In the play Macbeth, most characters deceived others by their outward appearances. An example of a character that was deceptive with his appearances was main character Macbeth. Macbeth is a character in the play Macbeth who was vivacious and inveigled. He often deceived people with... VIEW DOCUMENT

A Man is Born Free and Everywhere He is in Chains

657 words - 3 pages According to “The Prince”, a book written by an Italian politician named Machiavelli; that in order to be a good leader, the prince must understand the notion of appearance vs. reality. That is to say, it is good for a prince to be manipulative but he needs to appear good to the public. In Elizabethan politics, this notion is often rejected and the term “Machiavellian villain” is given to people who share similar traits with the “Prince”. In this passage, one may argue that through Macbeth’s uncertainly in his language, he is driven mad with ambitious thoughts by his surroundings rather than being someone who is inherently evil with the characteristics of a Machiavellian villain. Macbeth... VIEW DOCUMENT

Macbeth: Fate or Free-will.

578 words - 2 pages In Shakespeare's Macbeth, there is a question as to whether or not Macbeth is driven by fate or free will. The three weird sisters approach Macbeth with prophecies that will all come true in the end. It would appear that Macbeth is just following destiny at first. However, Macbeth always had a choice throughout the play to choose his own fate. Macbeth journeyed to his murderous doom through his own free choice.In Act I, the three witches visit Macbeth and Banquo on the heath. The witches make three predictions; Macbeth will be the VIEW DOCUMENT

The Downfall of Macbeth

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... VIEW DOCUMENT

An Evil Brain For the Insane

1312 words - 5 pages Evil is an injurious power; it brings harm to those who adopt it and their victims. In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, protagonists Macbeth and Lady Macbeth become tethered to the reigns of evil. Evil compels people to commit twisted acts of violence and takes control of ones body and mind. “In Macbeth evil is the opposite of humanity, the deviation from that which is natural for humankind, yet evil originates in the human heart” (Pilkington). Macbeth succumbs to evil through his own imperfection, greed, which in turn causes him to upset the predetermined chain of being. “Shakespeare shows, with Macbeth as an example, that any man can turn evil due to the temptations led on by many things.... VIEW DOCUMENT

Macbeth - it is unusual to find a character in drama who is wholly evil

981 words - 4 pages Many theorists hold that the hero of a tragedy ought to be a man of great power and status so that his fall, when it occurs, is all the more impressive, awe-inspiring, and shocking. Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, is a classic tragedy whose exceptional calamity leads to the eventual death of the powerful and over-ambitious protagonist Macbeth. Although Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, are two seemingly evil people, it is unusual to find a character in drama who is wholly evil. Throughout the text Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are both equally guilty of committing abhorrent and evil actions. However,... VIEW DOCUMENT

Shakespeare Alters History: Macbeth

1507 words - 6 pages William Shakespeare’s tragedy play Macbeth bears little resemblance to the actual history of Scotland. Through his writing he praised King James I’s ancestor, Banquo, as an innocent victim who was betrayed by his good friend, Macbeth. However, in reality he helps Macbeth kill Duncan. Shakespeare even changed history by creating Macbeth as a dark and evil human and also including scenes of witchcraft. William drastically altered history for the approval and satisfaction of King James I. Since Shakespeare was a well-established actor and playwright during King James I’s reign, James wanted William to write and produce plays for him. Although states King James I as a “…huge... VIEW DOCUMENT

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The theme of appearance versus reality is central to the Shakespearean play The Tragedy of Macbeth. It is a play full of ambition, betrayal, madness, and the supernatural. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth must hide their true thoughts in order to prevent others from knowing what they have done while different characters comment on the difficulty of knowing what a person is truly thinking. Indeed, Macbeth is full of the struggles of seeing what is real and what is not. Throughout Macbeth, elements of the supernatural, hallucinations brought on by guilt-driven madness, and statements by the differing characters depict the theme of appearance versus reality.

Something Shakespeare often does is give important lines to minor or insignificant characters. Even though King Duncan dies in the first act of the play, one of his lines underscores the theme of appearance versus reality almost perfectly. He states, “There’s no art to finding the mind’s construction in the face” (Shakespeare, 1.4.12-13). Duncan says this line about the traitorous Thane of Cawdor, who betrayed Scotland to Norway. He means that a person’s face can hide anything, and it is impossible to tell what someone is thinking. Ironically, as a reward for his bravery and loyalty, Duncan gives the Thane of Cawdor’s title to Macbeth, who kills him to obtain his throne. Duncan recognizes that people can hide what they are truly thinking, but he still trusts Macbeth completely. When Duncan goes to Macbeth’s castle Inverness, he states “This castle hath a pleasant seat” (1.6.1), but this statement is again ironic because Inverness is the place where Macbeth murders him. The castle’s agreeable appearance fools Duncan, and he is murdered in his sleep that very night.

Like their father, Duncan’s sons Malcom and Donalbain recognize that not all men are as they seem. Donalbain states that “There are daggers in men’s smiles” (2.3.138), meaning that despite a person’s friendly appearance, danger lurks beneath their façade. Unlike their father, however, they are better at discerning honest men from false men. When Macduff tries to convince Malcom, Duncan’s older son and heir to the throne, to come back to Scotland and challenge Macbeth, Malcom lies about what sort of person he is in order to see if Macduff actually wants Malcom to come back or if he is just another spy from Macbeth trying to lure him into a trap. Malcom insists that he is a lustful, greedy liar who is unfit to rule by saying “…your wives, your daughters, Your matrons, your maids could not fill up The cistern of my lust…” (4.3.62-63), and “…I should forge Quarrels unjust against the good and loyal. Destroying them for wealth” (4.3.82-84). Macduff despairs when Malcom asks if he would be fit to govern, stating “Fit to govern? No, not to live” (4.3.103-104). Malcom is not actually like what he says, however. He changes his appearance in order to discover what Macduff’s true intentions are. If Macduff only wanted Malcom to come back so that Macbeth could kill him, he would have insisted that Malcom is fit to rule and would be a good king despite his faults.

Malcom also changes his appearance during the final act when he and Macduff return to Scotland to fight Macbeth for the throne. The three witches, the ones who originally prophesied to Macbeth that he would become king of Scotland, gave Macbeth multiple prophesies, one of which states, “…none of woman born Shall harm Macbeth” (4.1.80-81). Since all men are born of women, he automatically assumes that no one can kill him. However, this prophecy is more than it seems. Macbeth was also warned by the witches to “Beware Macduff, Beware the Thane of Fife” (4.1.70-1), but because he believes he cannot be killed, he assumes he has little cause to worry, although he does have Macduff’s family killed to be certain. When he meets Macduff on the battlefield, Macduff informs him that he “…was from his mother’s womb Untimely ripped” (5.7.45-46), which means that Macduff was not technically ever born. The prophecy tricked Macbeth and caused him to be overconfident, and he was beheaded by Macduff in battle. The prophecy’s wording caused Macbeth to be unable to see the reality that he could still be killed.

Macbeth also receives a prophecy from the witches that says, “Macbeth shall never be vanquished until Great Birnam Wood to Dunsinane Hill Shall come against him” (4.1.91-93). Because trees cannot just get up and walk, Macbeth believes that he will never be vanquished. This assumption does not turn out to be true, however. Macduff and Malcom’s men take limbs from the trees and camouflage themselves, making it look as if the Great Birnam Wood is moving up Dunsinane Hill. The prophecy was different than Macbeth expected, and he paid the price for it. Once Malcom and his men get close enough to Macbeth’s army he says, “Now near enough. Your leafy screens throw down And show like those you are” (5.6.1-2). Malcom and his men hid their true appearance in order to defeat Macbeth. By doing so, they are also causing the prophecy the witches gave Macbeth to come true, but not in a literal fashion. All aspects of the prophecies came true, but the confusing manner in which they were stated caused them to play out differently than Macbeth expected.

The three witches who gave these misleading prophecies also stated one of the most prominent examples of appearance differing from reality. The words “Fair is foul and foul is fair” (1.1.11) are uttered by the three witches before the audience is introduced to the title character Macbeth. This oxymoron immediately sets the stage for the idea that not everything is as it seems. Significantly, Macbeth’s first line of play is “So foul and fair a day I have not seen” (1.3.39). This line “…is noteworthy not only because it reiterates a paradoxical statement, but because it refers back to the beginning of the play…” (Kranz 1). By doing so, Shakespeare subtly hints at a connection between the supernatural and Macbeth even before he meets the witches.

When Macbeth does meet the witches, they greet him with three titles, the last of them stating, “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” (Shakespeare, 1.3.51) When Macbeth hears their proclamation, he does not seem happy. Banquo questions his reaction saying, “Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair?” (Shakespeare, 1.3.52-53). This questions harkens once again to the “fair is foul and foul is fair” phrase. Both Macbeth and Banquo are unaware of the consequences of these prophecies. While the idea of being king is a wonderful notion, the price Macbeth pays is far more foul than fair. He must murder his way to the top, and then he must murder again to prevent anyone from discovering his crimes. He also struggles with the inability to sleep because of a guilty conscience that constantly plagues him until he goes a little mad and then succumbs to his evil nature. In addition, his wife Lady Macbeth goes completely mad with guilt and kills herself to free herself from it.

The three witches also introduce the idea of the supernatural in the play, and it is continued through the images of nature turning on itself. Horses eat each other, the days turn dark, and the birds behave oddly. Nature reflects the destabilization of the government Macbeth created when he murdered Duncan, and this causes the question of what is true reality to arise. Indeed, one of the most prominent references to the supernatural is during the scene when Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost during his banquet. Macbeth is the only one who can see the ghost, creating the question of the ghost’s reality. It could be just a figment of Macbeth’s imagination caused by his guilt for having Banquo murdered, or a result of Macbeth’s growing madness. It could also be a real apparition and Banquo has chosen to haunt only Macbeth. The ghost’s reality is in question and Macbeth struggles to see the difference between what is real and what is not.

The banquet scene is also a turning point in the play. Up until this scene, Macbeth still believes he is in control of his own fate. He knows that the witches understand what will come to pass, but he still believes that everything he chooses is his choice. After seeing Banquo’s ghost, however, “…it is clearly indicated that Macbeth is not what he was when the play began; in a sense the initiative has passed out of his hands” (Dyson 370). He understands that he has fooled himself into believing something that is not true. Macbeth recognizes that he is wrong and that he must now ride out the course he has set himself on. After his wife calms him, he stops getting fits of guilt that he had before Banquo’s murder. Indeed, two scenes before the banquet scene he complains of sleeplessness and states, “Oh full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife!” (Shakespeare, 3.2.35). Now however, it is as if he accepts his doomed fate and damnation. He believes because he decided to kill Duncan and become king, he is the one in charge of his fate, when in reality there are outside forces, such as the witches and Lady Macbeth, causing him to do these things,.

Macbeth is plagued by guilt not only after he murders Duncan but also while he and his wife are scheming. He is very worried that he and his wife will be discovered, but she belittles him by questioning his masculinity stating, “What beast was’t then, That made you break this enterprise to me? When you durst do it, then you were a man;” (1.7.48-50), and convinces him that no one will discover them because of the evidence with which they plan to frame Duncan’s guards. Macbeth then dismisses her saying, “Away, and mock the time with fairest show. False face must hide what the false heart doth know” (1.7.81-82). The two of them must hide what they are thinking in order to prevent any suspicion from falling on them. While Macbeth is only telling his wife to put on this façade while people are in their home, in reality they must continue this “false face” for the remainder of Macbeth’s reign if they want to keep what they did a secret.

Another aspect of Macbeth that contributes to the theme of appearance versus reality can be found in the hallucinations that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth experience. Right before killing Duncan, Macbeth sees the image of a dagger before him. According to Abraham Stoll, “Macbeth’s preoccupation is whether the dagger he sees is really there, or if it is a product of his mind” (136). Macbeth proceeds to reject the dagger as being a supernatural object and recognizes it as a hallucination when he cannot touch it (136). Lady Macbeth also hallucinates because of a guilty conscience. She begins to sleep walk and see things that are not there. One of her maids and her doctor watch her sleep walk and hear her say, “Out, damned spot! Out I say!” (Shakespeare, 5.1.30). She tries to scrub the blood off her hands, but there is nothing on her hands. Lady Macbeth, however, insists that there is blood on her hands and that it will not come off. She can clear neither her hands nor her conscience.

Despite her guilt driving her to madness, Lady Macbeth is the original motivator of Macbeth’s actions. She tells him to “Look like th’ innocent flower, But be the serpent under’t” (1.5.63-64). She wants him to hide his true ambitions and act like the noble person most believe him to be. She herself does her best to convince all that she is just as innocent as her husband pretends to be. After Duncan’s murder, the other noblemen in Macbeth’s home are questioning as to who the perpetrator really is, and Macbeth begins to nervously and guiltily ramble. In order to draw attention away from him, Lady Macbeth pretends to faint. She causes the men to think of her as a weak woman, changing their perception of her and creating a distraction.

Lady Macbeth’s statement of “Look like th’ innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t” can easily be interpreted as an allusion to the Bible. Herbert R. Coursen Jr. says that the serpent is Satan in the garden tempting Eve to eat the fruit (37). In this case, Lady Macbeth is the serpent, Macbeth is Eve, and the throne of Scotland is the fruit. Lady Macbeth convinces him to take the fruit, or throne, because being king will give him power and wealth. Like Adam and Eve achieving the promised knowledge of good and evil, Macbeth also achieves his goal. The fruit of his labors was rotten, however, and he loses his goodness, part of his sanity, his wife, and in the end, his life. The idea of being king was appealing, but it did not turn out how he expected.

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a tragic play full of lies and deceit. Characters are constantly lying about who they are and commenting on their inability to trust other people’s words and outward appearance. The three witches and their misleading prophecies show how everything is not as it seems, and the hallucinations that both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have because of their guilt also display how reality and illusion can become indiscernible.  Through the use of the supernatural, hallucinations, and statements by differing characters, Shakespeare displays the theme of appearance versus reality.

Works Cited

Coursen Jr., Herbert R. “In Deepest Consequence: Macbeth.” Shakespeare Quarterly 18.4 (1967): 375-88. Web.

Dyson, J.P. “The Structural Function of the Banquet Scene in Macbeth.” Shakespeare Quarterly 14.4 (1963): 369-73. Web.

Kranz, David L. “The Sounds of Supernatural Soliciting in Macbeth.” Studies in Philology 100.3 (2003): 346. Academic Search Complete. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth: 1539. Norton Critical editions: 2nd ed. New York: Norton, 2014. Print.

Stoll, Abraham. “Macbeth’s Equivocal Conscience.” Macbeth: New Critical Essays, New York, 2008. Google Scholar. Web. 12 Apr. 2015.


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