Apearance Are Deceptive

1 January 2017

In the world today, appearances play a big part in everyone’s lives. We can’t tell what everybody is thinking because their outward appearance can cover what really goes on in their heads. Shakespeare does that in the play Macbeth especially within the first Act of the play. Act One begins with the three witches as they talk about meeting Macbeth, and they end it by saying the words “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (1. 1. 10). This basically means that things are not what they appear to be.

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This sets the theme of deceptive appearances for the next couple of scenes, and also lets the audience know that deceptive appearances will happen as well. Duncan is a man who can’t see past outward appearances. The first line where we see Duncan making a false judgment is when he says “No more that thane of Cawdor shall deceive out bosom interest” (1. 2. 63-64). This is ironic because Macbeth is the one who kills him later on in the play. He goes on to say “What he hath lost, noble Macbeth hath won” (1. . 67). This is also ironic because Macbeth is nothing close to noble.

From the beginning of this play, Duncan judges books by their covers. In scene three, it is where Macbeth and Banquo meet the three witches. Banquo says “You should be women, and yet your beards forbid me to interpret that you are so” (1. 3. 45-47). This is an example of an outward appearance being deceptive. Banquo believes that these witches should be women but they have male qualities which prevents Banquo from realizing the truth.

In scene four, Duncan says another ironic line: “there’s no art to find a mind’s construction in the face: He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust” (1. 4. 12-14). Duncan is saying how he trusts him so much but is ironic because Macbeth deceives him later on in the play. Later on in this scene, Duncan makes Macbeth thane of Cawdor, and this leads Macbeth to believe that he is going to be the next king, but names Malcolm as the next king. Shakespeare then gives us an insight as to what Macbeth is really thinking.

This lets the audience realize all the misjudgments Duncan has said about Macbeth in the previous scenes. In the fifth and sixth scenes we are introduced to Lady Macbeth. She is immediately shown as a very evil person, even though women are portrayed as good and caring people. She is linked to being evil because the others can’t see past her feminine looks. Duncan misjudges her in scene 6, he says “To his home before us. Fair and noble hostess” (1. 6. 27). This is ironic because it is her idea to kill Duncan.

In scene five, when Lady Macbeth tells the plot to Macbeth about killing the king, she tells him “To beguile the time, look like the time; bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue: Look like th’innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t” (1. 5. 64-67). This is a biblical metaphor – comparing good and evil, the good is the innocent flower and the evil is the serpent – which she tells Macbeth in order for them to continue with the plan that they have conjured up. In scene six, Banquo and Duncan arrive at a castle.

They both comment on the house being healthy and relaxing. Duncan says “This castle hath a pleasant seat; the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses,” (1. 6. 1-3) And Banquo says “Where they most breed haunt, I have observed the air is delicate” (1. 6. 8-9). This is ironic because this is the same house that the murder of the king will happen. In scene seven, is the scene where Macbeth does his first evil deed in the play. He comes back with second thoughts about killing the king.

When Lady Macbeth hears this, she gets furious and says “What beast was’t then that made you break this enterprise to me? ” (1. 7. 47-48). She basically is saying how that killing the king was his idea in the first place, another example of the deceiving of Lady Macbeth. At the end of this Act Macbeth leaves with this saying “False face must hide what the false heart doth know” This basically means they have to cover up all of their wrong doings by deceiving the world, the only way to get away with what they done.

On page 63 of the Macbeth book, the three witches give Macbeth three apparitions. The first is an Armed Head, which means beware of the Thane of fife. The second is a Bloody Child, which means no man can hurt you which are born of women. This is another deceptive appearance because Macbeth believes he is immortal, that no man could hurt them, but in the end realizes that a man born of natural birth couldn’t hurt him.

The third is a Child Crowned, with a tree in his hand, which means that he will not vanish until the Birnam woods start to move to his castle. This is another deceptive appearance because he believes that trees walking to his castle is impossible and thus makes him believe that he is completely safe. Overall, deceptive appearances are used in many stories to make them more interesting, as Shakespeare has done very well in this play. There were many examples in this play; I’ve only discovered only some of them.

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