Fair Is Foul and Foul Is Fair

351 Words2 Pages
Macbeth according to Wilson Knight is a study in evil and darkness. The witches are the agents of evil and foul in the play. To the witches fair and foul are same. As Satan in Milton regarded ‘Evil’ as his ‘Good’, the witches too regarded ‘foul’ is their ‘fair’. This is riddle and the witches speak in riddles and paradoxes as they are mysterious beings of the universe. In the very opening of the play the witches appear in storm and rain and plan to have the rendezvous with Macbeth. As the three witches leave, they chant a witchly chant: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair: / Hover through the fog and filthy air" (1.1.11-12). As creatures of the night and the devil, they like whatever is "foul" and hate the "fair." So they will "hover" in the fog, and in the dust and dirt of battle, waiting for the chance to do evil. Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair" is a paradox, a statement that appears to be contadictory but actually expresses the truth. The witches are foul, but they give fair advice. Macbeth seems like a hero, but he is a plotter and dastard. It is quite interesting to note that the words of the witches will have an echo in Macbeth’s “So foul and fair a day I have not seen”. Macbeth utters these words at the very first time he enters the stage. This shows the evil connection between Macbeth and the witches. This is suggestive of the psychological depravity of Macbeth who means that the day is foul because it is stormy and fair because he has won the battle against King of Norway and Thane of Cawdor. In the use of the language of witches, Shakespeare shows a great mastery. The witches speak in Trochaic meter and Macbeth speaks in the Iambic. Witches : Fair is/ foul and/ foul is/ fair - Trochaic tetrameter catalectic Macbeth : So foul /and fair /a day /I have/ not seen- Iambic pentameter This is how the language of the witches is differentiated from that of

More about Fair Is Foul and Foul Is Fair

Open Document