Appearance Versus Reality In Macbeth

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One of the main themes in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, is appearance versus reality. Shakespeare is recognized for his exceptional ability to make the reader wonder which is which, keeping the reader aware, yet intrigued. He presents and develops this theme throughout the play with many of the characters, including Macbeth, the porter at the gate and Lady Macbeth. Macbeth is deceived by his ambition, the porter by his drunken state of mind and Lady Macbeth by her guilt. Macbeth sees a dagger before him, confusing him about whether or not to kill King Duncan. The porter at the gate is drunk, and pretends to be the porter of Hell Gate, and unknowingly allows Macduff and Lennox into the castle, allowing them to find King Duncan’s corpse. Lady Macbeth sees blood on her hands in her sleep, showing her guilt for her evil deeds. Although the guilt caused by these actions seem like punishment enough, they still endure further consequences. Macbeth is deceived by his ambition, his power, and most of all by his fear. In Act II, Scene I, he sees a dagger before him. This is just as he is about to kill King Duncan. He sees it floating, but he cannot feel it. As stated, “Thou marshalest me the way I was going and such an instrument I was to use” (Shakespeare, 1997, 2.1.50-51). It does not foreshadow Macbeth’s plan for King Duncan’s murder, because the reader is already aware of that. Instead, it confirms it. It symbolizes his passion, his desire, and his longing for power. It also symbolizes the power he already has over Duncan, because he is his guest. He is unaware that this is what is causing his premature guilt. “Thy very stones prate of my whereabout, and take the present horror from the item, which now suits with it” (Shakespeare, 1997, 2.1.66-68). Although he has not yet committed the crime, he is scared that he will get caught. However, his fear of failing his wife
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