Macbeth - Speech, Paradoxes

788 Words4 Pages
A paradox is aimed to create an understanding when two self contradictory phrases are juxtaposed and hence, it is used to underline a specific statement for which the audience may perceive as an insight for future events, a motif, a theme or even a countless entendre.
Throughout the play Macbeth, Shakespeare is able to incorporate various paradoxes into his play most notably ‘’fair is foul and foul is fair’’. The use of this paradox opens a threshold and highlights imperative themes in the play such as good and evil, depicted by the witches, empowerment and masculinity portrayed by Lady Macbeth, and also, loyalty and treachery in relation to King Duncan. The paradox also reveals several motifs of the film, and an insight into certain characteristics.
The paradox, ‘’fair is foul and foul is fair’’ appears as a rhyming couplet at the end of Act 1, it also acts as a double entendre, as it can be perceived as that the witches are describing themselves, their appearances our foul, though their prophecies are appealing and hence, fair for Macbeth.
However, the quote can also be depicted as the ongoing motif of the whole text, that nothing is what it seems, this is shown through Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s actions. Lady Macbeth is portrayed by her peers as a ‘’gentle lady’’, however, when she is with Macbeth, her true personality arises, clearly detailing that she is the mastermind behind Macbeth’s relentless killings. As to Macbeth, he is portrayed as a highly regarded, honourable, noble soldier, but due to many variables he ends his life as a coward, corrupt by power and misleading conspiracies.

The paradox of ‘’fair is foul and foul is fair’’ is evident within the theme of good and evil in relation to the witches. Their prophecies provide truthful outcomes, though they are twisted, and easily manipulate Macbeth into believing that he is invincible ‘’none of
Open Document