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Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair

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Commonly, in many works of ancient literature, motif stands as the backbone in these many pieces, which over time mutate into platitudes, and many other forms found in writing today. Foul and Fair are commonly showcased as to how the weather expresses how each of the persona’s emotions changes frequently. Many of the characters in the play Macbeth such as Lady Macbeth can be found at many times having a specific emotion when it is a bright and sunny day as oppose to a dark and stormy night, where she has a completely different set of emotions and actions. Many of these characters force the reader to be on the edge of their seat whenever there is a change in the weather and prepare for the character ultimately contradicts their mood, perfectly showcasing the foul and fair theme. In Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth,” foul and fair, display a major theme in the story, showing how there are good things and bad things all around, and later display how the weather affects the character’s emotions. Another part that is significant in this is how Macbeth is responsible for his own destruction and evil, however, many other characters play a part in the reason behind the crimes he committed. For Example, the witches gave Macbeth a path to go down, and an end goal to obtain to eventually become king. Lady Macbeth also manipulated him in many ways to achieve the goal faster.

One of the most significant motifs in Macbeth is Foul and Fair. This motif is found in many parts of the play in different forms. It is most commonly expressed is when the character’s mood and perspectives change constantly. For example “Fair is foul, and foul is fair: / Hover through the fog and filthy air’ (1.1.11-12). This quote is one of the most standard forms of Foul and Fair being expressed, showing that everything good, has a bad side. Likewise, everything that is bad has a good side. An important part of the play where foul and fair is showcased the best when Duncan comes to Macbeth’s castle. For instance, ‘look like the innocent flower, / But be the serpent under (1.5.65-66). In this part, Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to have a different personality in front of Duncan, although in reality, he has cruel intentions, and later plans to kill Duncan. This is an important example of the Foul and Fair motif because, in this scene, Lady Macbeth constantly reminds Macbeth to fool Duncan into thinking that he is an “innocent flower.” This shows that even though Macbeth is showing his fair side, deep down he has his foul side. The Foul and Fair is shown in many parts throughout this play and symbolizes many of the important scenes in Macbeth.

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The Foul and Fair motif comes in various other forms in this play. One of the most significant forms is how the weather affects the scene, and affects the character’s moods. An important part of this being showcased, is when Duncan comes to Macbeth’s castle. “The air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle sense.”(1.4.1). This quote is notable because Duncan describes the surroundings as peaceful, in contrast to the battle with the witches earlier in this scene. Likewise, the Foul and Fair motif blends with the weather because the beauty of Macbeth’s castle hides the gruesome plot of Duncan’s death. Likewise, the weather also becomes a lightning storm when Duncan is killed. Although the weather also implements the light and dark motif. For example “By the clock ‘tis day and yet night strangles the traveling lamp”(2.4.6). This is explained by Ross, and also shows how in all Dark there is still light, essentially creating a metaphor for the light and dark motif. This quote can also be put for the foul and fair motif, because characters in this book have a light side and a dark side. Besides the fact that the weather may pass by as an insignificant factor in Macbeth, there is much about the weather that can relate to motifs and characters’ personas in this play.

Macbeth’s final goal was to become king. When the Witches tell Macbeth that he will eventually become the Thane of Cawdor, they also knew that Banquo’s sons will also be kings. Due to this, Macbeth kills many people. Not only was Macbeth led down the wrong road because of this, but the Witches also make a potion that curses Macbeth. However, the Witches were not the worst part that made Macbeth like this. Lady Macbeth manipulates him and pressures him to kill Duncan so that Macbeth can become the Thane of Cawdor. However, this is leveled out where she changes from foul to fair because later, she gets stressed, and starts sleepwalking because of Duncan’s death. This is just like Macbeth because he was originally worried about what would happen after he killed Duncan, and later on he was confident and became less of a Poltroon(vocab word!). But before the eventual murder of Duncan, she accuses him of being weak as a woman.

Macbeth was a nobleman of Scotland but became the Thane of Cawdor after they were assassinated. When he is the Thane of Cawdor, he is a power-hungry man and is always looking for a better name to be called that will show people that he is the best. Macbeth kills Duncan and becomes king. The majority of this play is essentially about how Macbeth gets to keep higher positions on the Monarchy. Macbeth is most definitely the person who is mostly responsible for the problems in this story.

This eventually adds up to show how Macbeth was clearly responsible for his downfall. To begin, Macbeth believes the prophecy without any real evidence to show how it is true, and how it will lead him to his goal. Although the words of the Witches kind of influenced him, they never actually told him to go and kill Duncan. The thought after he kills the king, Banquo first discovers his guilt “Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear things that do sound so fair?”(1.3.54-55). This is what Banquo replies when Macbeth hears the witches tell him the great things that will come with becoming a king and being the leader of the land. This shows that Banquo has a lot of confidence in Macbeth since he replies as already knowing that this was going to happen. Banquo does not even seem changed. Macbeth does not really understand how this was going to occur which was wrong by him because there was no proof to back this up. This also loops around to how Macbeth’s true desires scare him, and he never wants to speak about them openly. However Lady Macbeth encourages the murder, and that will help him with his true desires. Instead of following his conscience, he attempts to put the guilt away and continues with his ambition. Even his mind, full of the thoughts of murder, would do anything to claim the crown.

Throughout many pieces of literature, motifs stand out as an important factor of many pieces of literature. However, one of the most powerful motifs in Macbeth is Foul and Fair, and how that the weather, and this motif affect many character’s personas throughout the play. In Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth,” foul and fair, display a major motif in the story, showing how there are good things and bad things all around, and later display how the weather affects the character’s emotions. Macbeth had done many different things that led to his downfall and ultimately started with his true desire that he tried to focus on, and suppress any crimes along the way in his head. Besides the fact that Macbeth has many themes and motifs in it, many other pieces of literature commonly use those same motifs and themes to make their story complex. 


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