Quite often, things that may appear to be ‘fair’, in reality can turn out to be ‘foul’. This idea of appearance vs. reality is conveyed through places, events and most importantly, the characters within William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, with Macbeth’s ever-changing character revealing his true personality, representing this idea.
Throughout the play, we see Macbeth’s diverse thoughts and emotions, in his personality that transforms over time. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is described as a strong, brave and fearless warrior after his victory in defeating the King of Norway “For brave Macbeth – well he deserves that name” (Act 1 Scene 2). This quote demonstrates the respect that Macbeth has earned from his own King and various other leaders. However his true personality is questioned when he comes across the witches. When he hears of the potential that he has, he focuses on what he could become instead of the most realistic outcome. This is illustrated in Macbeth’s lines “Stay, you imperfect speakers...Speak, I charge you. (Act 1 Scene 3 Lines 68-76). Macbeth’s curiosity portrays the issue of appearance vs. reality, linking back to the ‘fair is foul and foul is fair” idea. Macbeth’s guilt also reveals the idea of appearance vs. reality. Once he has murdered Duncan, he is overwhelmed in guilt. “I am in blood. Stepp’d in so far, that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er” (3.4). This use of blood imagery, as well as sleep imagery “Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor, Shall sleep no more; Macbeth shall sleep no more” (2.2) conveys Macbeth’s guilt, and how sinful he felt about the act he committed. Lady Macbeth’s character is also a valuable example of appearance vs. reality. Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth hides her sincere feelings and thoughts. For a long period of time, Lady Macbeth acts as the ‘more dominant’ and masculine character, compared to Macbeth, as she appeared to have no guilt, or no fear of killing Duncan. However later in the play, her guilty conscience is exposed while sleepwalking, speaking of the death of Duncan, Banquo and Lady Macduff. “Out, damned spot! Out I say! One, two...had so much blood in him?” (5.1) Lady Macbeth is trying to wash her hands clean of blood, and clean of guilt. This scene, along