Theme of Deception/ Deceit in Macbeth Throughout Macbeth things are not always as they seem. Deception in the play is always present, with Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the three witches being the chief instigators of deception. From the very first scene, the deception within Macbeth’s world is clearly defined. “Fair is foul and foul is fair”, say the witches at the beginning of Macbeth. This language of contradiction that Shakespeare uses adds to the play’s sense of moral confusion and quickly introduces the theme of deception to the audience, by implying that nothing is quite as it seems.
Also, the play clearly shows how living a life of deceit will ultimately end in disaster. Macbeth, evidently led by his wife, but also by his own ambitions, is guilty of deception many times throughout the play. He deceives his comrade Banquo, King Duncan, as well as his public. From the beginning he welcomes Duncan into his home, knowing that he is about to be murdered. After murdering Duncan he then goes on to kill the guards outside Duncan’s chamber to cover up for himself and make it look as though the guards committed the murder. Lady Macbeth is also one who conveys the theme of deceit in this play.
She is very skilled at persuading others, especially her husband, into be She is telling Macbeth to look and act pure, but to be evil inside. ” However, Macbeth does not heed Banquo’s words of wisdom, and allows the witches to further deceive him with words that have double meanings and misleading messages, such as those spoken about Birnam Wood coming to Dunsinane and that “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth”. The three witches portray the theme of deception in a different way. Banquo suspects their deception and treachery early on in the play, just after Macbeth has received the title of Thane of Cawdor.
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The deception once foregrounded as an advantageous quality has now led to this self-deception, craziness, and Lady Macbeth’s eventual suicide. She schemes and plans right from the beginning to influence Macbeth to kill Duncan and make himself king. “To beguile the time Look like the time, bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower But be the serpent under’t. They play with Macbeth right from the start by greet him as ‘Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and King hereafter’ knowing Macbeth will go to any lengths to make these prophecies true.
Self-deception is the worst kind of deceit, as we can see that the guilt becomes overwhelming, causing insanity. The deceit does take its toll: “O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! ”, and Macbeth’s conscience is imprisoned by the build up of denial and self-deception. The illusions, such as the ghost of Banquo and the knife, show that like his wife, Macbeth’s own self-deception has sent him crazy. She is finally so caught up in deception that she cannot take the stress any more. Macbeth’s learned evilness and deception also affects him negatively, and the quest to be king is tragic.
Macbeth’s state of mind is also not that of a normal person, as he is trying to go against his nature to convince himself that deception is the only way to be King. Moral Lessons of Macbeth "Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under't. " (Shakespeare 1. 5. 64-66) Throughout Shakespeare's Macbeth , things are not always as they seem. Deception in this play is always present, especially with the main characters - Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is the most skilled at persuading others, especially her husband, into believe things that are not true.
The above quote, spoken by Lady Macbeth to her husband, shows exactly how manipulative and deceiving she can be. She is telling Macbeth to look and act pure, but to be evil inside. Macbeth, evidently led by his wife, but also by his own ambitions, is likewise guilty of deception. He deceives his best friend Banquo, King Duncan, as well as his public. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth also try to use denial and rationalization to deceive themselves. This self-deception leads to grave circumstances for them both. Macbeth is forced into further and further lies, making life difficult and unbearable.
Lady Macbeth is also caught in the depths of deception and eventually kills herself. Therefore, it is obvious that the main characters of Shakespeare's Macbeth are all negatively affected by the recurring theme of deception. Throughout the play, Lady Macbeth uses her ability to mislead others in many ways. First of all, she decides to use deception to push her husband's ambition to be king. ... Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear, and chastise with the valour of my tongue all that impedes thee from the golden round... (1. 5. 25-28)
Lady Macbeth believes that, to be successful in his ambitions, Macbeth must rise above his goodness and accept her evil ways. She knows that the process of making her husband believe what she wants may not be easy. Lady Macbeth has to be cunning, and she is up for the challenge. The thought of being in power - the King and Queen of Scotland - drives her and she cannot be stopped. Lady Macbeth often has to reinforce her immoral beliefs to her husband, giving him a boost. Was the hope drunk, wherein you dressed yourself? hath it slept since, and wakes it now, to look so green and pale at what it did so freely?
From this time such I account thy love. Art thou afeard to be the same in thine own act and valour, as thou art desire? Wouldst thous have that which thou esteem'st the ornament of life, and live a coward in thine own esteem, letting "I dare not" wait upon "I would," Like the poor cat I'the adage? "(1. 7. 35-42) Lady Macbeth implies that Macbeth is being cowardly by not going after what he wants. She preys upon her husband's pride to remind him of his ambitions. Once she has schooled her husband in the art of deception, she must help him uphold this image and the lies. This deceit always results in hazardous utcomes. Although Lady Macbeth is the most talented deceiver, Macbeth is also lead into committing his own deceptions. He begins to learn from his wife, and, in turn, proceeds to deceive many others. Deceiving his friends becomes a frequent habit, and Macbeth is forced to continue his lies and stories. Do not muse at me, my most worthy friends; I have a strange infirmity, which is nothing to those that know me. Come, love and health to all; then I'll sit down. - Give me some wine: fill full: - I drink to the general joy of the whole table, and to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss; would he were here. (3. 4. 4-91) This falsehood is evident, as Macbeth is trying to fool his dinner guests about the reasons for his strange behaviour. Pretending that everything is fine eventually does not work, and as the play continues, so does the deception on many different levels. Deceiving others may seem difficult, but deceiving oneself leads to even bigger problems. Lady Macbeth is so occupied with trying to mislead others, while rationalizing the deception to herself and her husband, that she does not notice how much the guilt is building. She finally gets so caught up in the deception game, that she cannot take it anymore.
Lady Macbeth's worry that people are no longer falling for their deceptive ways, comes out in one of her mad ramblings in front of the doctor: "... What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? "(5. 1. 35-37). Though she is trying to be bold, saying that she does not care who knows what they have done, the statement proves that she does fear being detected. In the end, Lady Macbeth's guilt over all of the lies gets the better of her. She goes mad, sleepwalking and rambling about the murders. "Wash your hands, put on your night-gown; look not so pale. - I tell you yet again,
Banquo's buried: he cannot come out on's grave. "(5. 1. 58-60) The deception that Lady Macbeth once prided herself on, lead to the self-deception, which then lead to her death when she committed suicide. Macbeth is also in over his head, and his mind starts to play tricks on him on more than one occasion: Is this a dagger I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come let me clutch thee: I have thee not, and yet I see thee still. (2. 1. 33-36) ... art thou but a dagger of the mind, a false creation, proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain? (2. 1. 37-39) Macbeth's state of mind is not that of a normal man.
He is trying so hard to go against his nature, convincing himself that deception is the only way to be King. The deceit does take its toll: "O! full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife! "(3. 2. 36) Macbeth becomes imprisoned by his illusions caused by the build up of denial and self-deception. Banquo's ghost is an example of these illusions. "... Take any shape but that [Banquo's] and my firm nerves shall never tremble: or , be alive again... "(3. 4. 103-104) Macbeth's inner struggle is coming out and, because his mind is in such a state, he can no longer control his behavior. Like his wife, Macbeth's own inner deception has made him crazy.
Macbeth goes from being a noble warrior with honest ambition, to someone that cannot even control his own thoughts anymore, due to all of the deception. From the end results of the play, we can clearly see how deception ruins lives. Shakespeare shows the audience that misleading others - and oneself, is not honorable nor the way to get ahead. Lady Macbeth's ability to seduce her husband into having immoral thoughts, leading to immoral actions to gain power, does not pay off. Macbeth's learned evilness and deception also affects him negatively, and the quest to be king is tragic.
Self-deception is the worst kind of deceit, as we can see that the guilt becomes overwhelming, causing insanity. Evil deception of any kind is clearly harmful and a valid moral lesson can be taken from this play. Deception is the heart of Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. Everything revolves around what seems to be; however, the truth does not emerge until the end when all deceptions are revealed. The witches and Macbeth use the tools of deception to cloud the issues and move the play along leaving the reader to ascertain what is real. The Weird sisters set up the theme of appearance vs. eality with their opening lines “fair is foul, and foul is fair, /hover through the fog and filthy air” (1. 1. 12-13). These lines hint to the reader that people and events in the play will not be as they appear! When the witches give Macbeth his three titles Thane of Cawdor, Thane of Glamis, and King hereafter (1. 3. 51-53) thoughts of suspicion arise. Will Macbeth try to achieve these titles or let things take their natural course? Banquo tries to be the voice of reason and portrays feelings of doubt in his lines: “That, trusted home, /Might yet enkindle you unto the crown, /Besides the Thane of Cawdor.
But tis’ strange. / And oftentimes to win us to our harm,/The instruments of darkness tell us truths, /Win us with honest trifles, to betray’s/ In deepest consequence”(1. 3. 132-138). Perhaps, in my opinion, a play can have only one theme or a central idea to be focussed and as far as Macbeth is concerned the whole idea is based on what the witches chanted "fair is foul and foul is fair". This idea is repeated by almost everyone in the play . e. g right after the battle of Dunsinane where the sergeant remarks "from that spring whence comfort see'd to come Discomfort swells' ..
Likewise this idea of contradiction is explicit in Duncan's words" There is no art to find the mind's construction on in the face'. Banquo was intrigued by the appearance of the witches to whom he says" You should be women, and yet your beards forbid one to interpret that you are so". He is further confused how " the instruments of darkness tell us truths " . Later on Lady Macbeth has the following advice to her husband " to beguile the time look like the time, bear welcome in your eye, your hand, your tongue, look like the innocent flower and yet be the serpent under it. The theme can be traced throughout in Macbeth as one of deception. Appearances are deceptive. What is fair is not fair . Shakespeare's play "Macbeth" is considered one of his great tragedies. The play fully uses plot, character, setting, atmosphere, diction and imagery to create a compelling drama. The general setting of Macbeth is tenth and eleventh century Scotland. The play is about a once loyal and trusted noble of Scotland who, after a meeting with three witches, becomes ambitious and plans the murder of the king. After doing so and claiming the throne, he faces the other nobles of Scotland who try to stop him.
In the play, Macbeth faces an internal conflict with his opposing decisions. On one hand, he has to decide of he is to assassinate the king in order to claim his throne. This would result in his death for treason if he is caught, and he would also have to kill his friend. On the other hand, if he is to not kill him, he may never realize his ambitious dreams of ruling Scotland. Another of his internal struggles is his decision of killing his friend Banquo. After hiring murderers to kill him, Macbeth begins to see Banquo's ghost which drives him crazy, possibly a result of his guilty conscience.
Macbeth's external conflict is with Macduff and his forces trying to avenge the king and end Macbeth's reign over Scotland. One specific motif is considered the major theme, which represents the overall atmosphere throughout the play. This motif is "fair is foul and foul is fair. " In the first scene of the first act, three witches plan their next meeting in which they will encounter Macbeth. It is in this scene that the motif is first presented, as the tree witches chant, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair, hover through the fog and filthy air" (1. 1. 11-12). The witches meet again in scene three of act one.
One of the witches discusses a curse she has placed on a woman's husband, because she refused to share her food. This display of evil powers and spitefulness, suggests that the witches may have some influence in the development of the motif. Macbeth enters during this scene along with Banquo, arriving from a victorious battle. He uses the motif to describe the day as "So foul and fair a day I have not seen" (1. 3. 38). When Macbeth encounters the witches, they give him two predictions. One is that he will become the thane of Cawdor, and then the king of Scotland.
Upon hearing this, Macbeth immediately begins to plan his methods of obtaining these positions, including the murder of the king. Because of this, it may be assumed that he has thought of such actions prior to the meeting. This is an example of what was once fair, a loyal and noble of Scotland, has become foul, an ambitious traitor. On the night of his murder, king Duncan is invited to a banquet hosted by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Once there, Duncan describes the castle in a positive manner. "This Castle hath a pleasant seat; the air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses" (1. . 1-3). Ironically, Macbeth murders him in his sleep in the castle. The main theme of the play is supported here, as this fair and pleasant castle, has become a foul place of betrayal and murder. This scenario is also seen at Macbeth's second banquet, which he holds to show gratitude and love for his friends. Meanwhile, however, three murderers hired by Macbeth, kills his friend Banquo in order to prevent any threat or opposition to Macbeth's reign. In her first appearances, Lady Macbeth is presented as an ambitiously evil and foul character that will do whatever it takes to get what she wants.
We see this motivation in her when she says, "How tender tis to love the babe that milks me; I would, while it was smiling in my face have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and dashed the brains out" (1. 6. 55-58). In these lines, Lady Macbeth threatens that she would smash her baby's head if it meant achieving their goals. However, after killing Duncan and becoming queen, she realizes her mistakes and is driven mentally ill by it. She is no longer able to live with the guilt and fears of her actions. In her case, we see what was once foul, becomes fair.
William Shakespeare uses nature to develop the theme of the play. Disorders in nature during this time were a result of an evil doing disrupting the natural order of the world. In the play, Macbeth's betrayal of Scotland is the cause of the disorders in nature. An example of these disorders is the woods that Macbeth's messenger claims he saw. "As I did stand my watch upon the hill I looked toward Birnam, and anon, methought, the wood began to move" (5. 5. 33-35). Throughout the play Macbeth, the general mood is one of deceit and betrayal. What appears to be fair is foul. This is why it is considered to be the
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Deception in Macbeth by Shakespeare Essay
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Betrayal And Deception In Macbeth
“Betray a friend, and you’ll often find you ruined yourself,” once said Aesop. There are consequences of betraying and deceiving a friend, and it will change one’s life for the worse. One author who emphasizes the ideal of betrayal and deception is Shakespeare, and it can be seen throughout the play Macbeth. In the play, Macbeth was an honored and respected high ranking noble in King Duncan’s eyes, and betrayed his king to gain power. Macbeth and his fellow, Banquo were told by mysterious witches that Macbeth would be crowned king. The prediction from the witches gave Macbeth and Lady Macbeth a dangerous dose of ambition, which led to them killing the ones closest to them to become king, including King Duncan and Banquo. Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare illustrates the concept
Deceptive Appearances in Macbeth
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, a selfish Scottish thane becomes over-ambitious and commits several murders in order to gain and stay in power. After the murders, Macbeth evades suspicion by hiding his guilt and intentions, therefore deceiving others into thinking that he is innocent. Other characters including Lady Macbeth, the witches and the Scottish thanes also use their appearances to hide the truth and deceive others. With these examples, Shakespeare shows that appearances can be deceiving.
Macbeth's Act I: Paradox Relates To Dramatic Irony
In play Macbeth Act I, William Shakespeare write “Fair is Foul and Foul is Fair” (I,i ,12) to show what protagonist Macbeth thinks is fair may be foul and what he thinks foul may be fair in order to convey the dramatic irony and the paradox relationship in the play. First, when Macbeth greets three witches they prophesizes that Macbeth will be the Thane of Cawdor as well as the King, and Macbeth is fearing about it. As the play states, “Good sir, why you start and seem to fear Things that do sound so fair” (I, iii, 54-55). As Banquo said, be the king is fair, but in order to be the king, Macbeth need to plan a series of murder which is a lot of foul events. The paradox
Role Of Deception In Macbeth
In the tragedy of Macbeth there are times when there is deception used especially within acts 1 and 2. What deception is explained is “It seems as though no one is who they seems they are and everyone is suspected of having hidden ulterior motives” (Kibin). The first time that there is deception in act 1 scene 4 of Macbeth when King Duncan names Macbeth Thane of Cawdor after the killing of the previous traitor. The act of deception is in act 1 scene 5 and it is when Lady Macbeth reads Macbeth’s letter and decides that Macbeth will be king because the witches said so. . The last part that we see deception is in act 1 scene 7 between Lady Macbeth and Macbeth when they plan and execute the killing of King Duncan. There is so many times that we see deception in the first acts and because
Deception In Macbeth
All humans are capable of good and evil. Whether or not they choose to succumb to their own dark side is a choice they must make, and the fight to resist temptation is a battle they fight every day. In the Shakespearean tragedy “Macbeth”, the audience witnesses the protagonist Macbeth’s slow loss of humanity. He goes from a loyal, trustworthy, war hero to a ruthless, machiavellian ruler set on doing absolutely anything to gain more and more power, and doing all he can to desperately protect it. It is this lust for power that leads to his eventual downfall. This pattern of deception and betrayal is still evident in the world today, such as Aaron Hernandez’s murder and assault charges, Teresa Giudice’s bankruptcy fraud, and Rep. Michael G. Grimm's
Lady Macbeth Deception
It was a gloomy, cold Monday morning when Lady Macbeth was called into the conference room. Feeling the confusion in the room, she took a seat at the corner of the table. Everyone was speaking to one another, trying to understand why they all had been called for a meeting so unexpectedly, leaving Lady Macbeth to sit unaccompanied, the way she enjoyed it. A short man soon came into the room, catching the attention of all the workers, clearly showing the man’s authority. As the workers scrambled to find a seat, the man began to announce,” Attention fellow employees, in the next week I will be giving a promotion. However, the competition is very tight. You must show me that you excel in your craft and that you deserve this
Examples Of False Appearances In Macbeth
Throughout his tragedy, Macbeth, Shakespeare employs examples of false appearances and duality to characterize Lady Macbeth as a manipulative, deceptive woman. Not only does Lady Macbeth’s own speech characterize her as such, but even the three witches give the statement, “fair is foul and foul is fair,” (act I. scene i. line 11), establishing the motif of false appearances before the audience first meets her. Lady Macbeth does not seem evil from the outside, but she is insidious on the inside. Her manipulative nature shines through when she tells Macbeth he should, “look like the innocent flower,/ but be the serpent under it,” (act I. scene v. lines 71-72). Her deceptive persona in this scene mimics the story of Adam and Eve. She is attempting
Lady Macbeth: A Tale Of Two Disasters
At the beginning of the play Macbeth is shown as an honorable man who is always loyal to his king. This is in contrast with Lady Macbeth who shown from the very beginning that she always had a lust for blood and murder. As time passes by he begins to be manipulated by both the witches and Lady Macbeth. He is shown saying, “For them, the gracious Duncan have I murder’d” (3.1.67) making it clear that in his eyes he only murdered Duncan for the sake of the witches. In his eyes he was only doing these things for others rather than himself. Also Lady Macbeth uses methods of tying to his pride and insecurities. She begins to build him up whilst bringing him down using mind games against him. Lady Macbeth on the other hand was not even able to commit the act herself as she proclaims, “Had he not resembled/My father as he slept, I had done’t” (2.2.12-13). Because of the resemblance Duncan holds of her father she did not want to commit to the deed so she just did the manipulation behind the whole scheme. Her not even being able to kill Duncan herself shows her cowardice and that she would rather be making her husband do all the heavy lifting. Not only that her tactics of manipulating her husband by using their so called love shows the true evil she shows within her. She uses their love as if it was tool as to get her husband to do things for her questioning whether she really does love her husband or just sees him as a device. Although neither character should be sympathised, Macbeth shows the biggest transition thus the most tragic
Examples Of Fair In Macbeth
William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, opens not with Macbeth, the leading character, but instead, the witches. They eerily speak the lines: “Fair is foul, and foul is fair/ Hover through the fog and filthy air” (1.1.12-3). Introducing the play like this importantly sets an ambiguous tone, distinctively blurring the lines between “fair” and “foul.” Accordingly, as “[There is] no art to find the mind’s construction in the face” (1.4.10-1), Macbeth accepts what the witches tell him as fact, after his promotion to Thane of Cawdor affirms their prophetic greeting. This lack of objectivity leads a good character astray. Though Macbeth initially shows loyalty to his country, he too readily accepts what the witches tell him at face value, and walks
Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair In Macbeth
The verse “fair is foul and foul is fair”, written in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, is a paradox that details the theme of the play. It is said by the witches at the beginning of the play and repeated various times throughout. This contradictory line foreshadows the events to come in the play. In relation to Macbeth, it can be interpreted to relate to multiple situations occurring in the play. The line “fair is foul and foul is fair” is interpreted to mean that innocence is capable of turning into guilt, things aren’t always as they seem, and no one be trusted.
evilmac Macbeth's Evil Aspect Essay
The Tragedy of Macbeth opens in a desert place with thunder and lightning and three Witches who are anticipating their meeting with Macbeth, "There to meet with Macbeth." They all say together the mysterious and contradictory "Fair is foul, and foul is fair." King Duncan learns that "brave
The Role Of Deception In Macbeth
Is he telling the truth? The answer could lie in his eyes. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a tragic play filled with deceit and deception. However, an understanding of body language, speech patterns, and even reactionary emotions would have revealed the title character’s true malice. The traditional proverb, the eyes are the window to the soul, is correct in its assertion that dishonesty can be detected through speech and the physical movements of the body.
Theme Of Appearance Vs Reality In Macbeth
Whatever way you decide to look at it, if you try to act as someone you’re not, the truth would eventually appear in the end. That is what happened in William Shakespeare’s play, “Macbeth”. Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and Banquo each put on their own “masks” of deception and deceit. As time passes, the realities of their true personalities began to emerge.
Analysis Of Shakespeare 's Macbeth 's ' Macbeth '
Several prominent characters in the play make use of equivocations to hide their treacherous intentions and some even come to recognize the danger of equivocal language. The three witches, the porter and Macbeth are the most significant characters who take part in acts of subterfuge. However, despite his own usage of double speak, Macbeth becomes a victim to the speech manipulation of the Weird Sisters and regrettably fails to see the hidden deception in the witches’ words. The most famous paradoxical line of the witches: “Fair is foul and foul is fair” (1.1.11) visits the tragedy in various forms and embodies the very essence of the play. It warns the audience that all events, things and
A Literary Analysis Of Lady Macbething
There are three witches that are straight from hell that start this play. They are super evil and known for decieving people into believing one thing and then doing another in the same frame of mind. They twist things into wicked things and they get away with it because people continue to go to them for help. When they make the three profecies on Macbeth and Banquo the two knights don’t know what to do or say because they were not supposed to be there and if they were to get caught bad things would certainly happen. The fact that the first two things that the witches said would happen actually happened raised some questions for Macbeth and Banquo. The witches knew what was going to happen before they said “Foul is Fair and Fair is Foul” and they basically just tried
The Theme Of Deception In Macbeth
Show More Individuals who are deceptive or are deceived will consequently be a catalyst for disaster and chaos. William Shakespeare conveys the theme of deception in his tragic play ‘Macbeth’ through the protagonists; the witches, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. In Shakespeare’s era, the notion of being disloyal to the King will cause destruction to the chain of beings as well as cause insanity in themselves. The use of innumerable literary techniques and recurring motifs of nature and the contrast between light and dark aid in accentuating the theme. The witches manipulate and put in Macbeth’s head the idea of having a chance of having the crown. Banquo 's assumes that “to win us to our harm, The instruments of darkness tell us truths, Win us with honest …show more content… She reminds him to look like an ‘innocent flower’ but be the ‘serpent under’t’. This simile conveys the notion of appearance versus reality and the biblical allusion of Macbeth being compared to the ‘serpent’ emphasises that Lady Macbeth is suggesting Macbeth to tempt people and deceive them by acting guiltless. Lady Macbeth exaggerates “all our service in every point twice done and then done double” when speaking to King Duncan. Moreover, the overly polite tone that Lady Macbeth evidently illustrates how Lady Macbeth wants to be on the King’s good side so she will not be suspected of the ‘deed’. ‘Twice done and then done double’ reiterates how much work Lady Macbeth has done just for the King’s arrival. Lady Macbeth’s reinforces Macbeth by saying “what 's done is done” as she tries to comfort him after he has done the deed. The repetition of ‘done’ highlights that there is no going back and she doesn’t feel remorse. Lady Macbeth’s statement deceives Macbeth as this is not the end of drama. The audience knows that there will be more deaths and drama to come. Lady Macbeth is very convincing and is a close relation to Macbeth, therefore she can easily deceive him with her words and …show more content… Macbeth says himself that "as his host, who should against his murder shut the door, not bear the knife myself” which reinforces that he should not go against the King and assassinate him. The dramatic irony of knowing that Macbeth will be disloyal and having already plotted against the King with the manipulation of his wife, enhances the theme of deception. Macbeth is portrayed as an innocent character to the public but behind doors with his wife, he is a serpent and is full of evil. Macbeth’s use of parallelism in “false face must hide what the false heart doth know” pervades that he will follow his rule; to hide what his heart knows by putting on a fake face. Consequently, the public will not be suspicious of him as he seems innocent from the outside and thus he can easily manipulate people as he is of high power and is a ‘good’ person. The witches make Macbeth believe that he has an upper hand by continuing their prophecy “non of woman born/ Shall harm Macbeth.” In Shakespeare’s era, it was rare for an individual to be born of caesarean and therefore the witches deceived Macbeth with their words. They made him think that he will be safe and no one can harm him. Little did Macbeth know, the witches were telling the truth although there was an underlying twist since Macduff was born of caesarean. Macbeth whom is too confident with himself, didn’t
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The Importance Of Guilt In Macbeth
Macbeth Essay Edits Much of the majority of humanity has felt guilt at one point in their life, whether it is an everyday occurrence or a single moment. Guilt prompts aids people to make in making decisions they would not have made otherwise make before, causing their life as well as their morals to spiral uncontrollably. a spiraling effect for that person. Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, illustrates this exactly.…
Role Of Manipulation In Macbeth
Only motivated by his drive to unseam “the merciless Macdonwald” (I.ii.2) and win honor from his battles for Scotland, the thought of becoming king never enters Macbeth’s mind until he is pushed into believing the possibility may arise. The three witches, in their own amusement, start Macbeth down his path to evil and cruelty. It is Macbeth’s free will, however that keeps him on that path. The witches implant ideas into Macbeth’s head that they know he will act upon. For example, they reveal to Macbeth that he “shalt be king hereafter” (I.iii.6) and that Banquo’s “children shall be kings” (I.iii.7).…
Why Did Macbeth Want To Be King
Landy Andrianjafy Mrs. Delhove British Literature 11 December 2015 Why was Macbeth a Horrendous King? Macbeth is a British classic tragedy written by William Shakespeare. This play involves treason and how it is committed. Another theme that is mentioned is how ambition may lead to other problems.…
False Security In Macbeth
Throughout William Shakespeare’s timeless play, Macbeth, there are many instances in which the main protagonist, Macbeth, believes something to be true which is not. Macbeth’s most prominent illusion of the world around him is that he is invincible and cannot be defeated. Mainly through the theme of the danger of false security, Macbeth develops an incorrect sense of the world around him, believing himself to be unbeatable. Macbeth’s fatal misconception of the world around him eventually leads to his kingdom being taken from him and ultimately his life as well.…
Lady Macbeth's Loss Of Innocence
Shakespeare presents an interesting dynamic in Macbeth wherein Lady Macbeth acts as the proverbial devil on the shoulder of her husband, constantly whispering in his ear. Though Macbeth is introduced as a loyal warrior under King Duncan of Scotland, he ponders murdering his king almost immediately after he is told by three witches that he will one day rule the country. Even so, Macbeth’s resolve to carry out this crime is shaky at best. Once his wife gets into his ear, however, that shaky resolution is ever so slowly strengthened. Lady Macbeth begins her work by insisting that to not kill King Duncan would be cowardly.…
How Does Lady Macbeth Persuade Her Husband
But now he puts on the mantle of that of a murderer. He ends by stating a strong line composed of monosyllables. “False face must hide what the false heart doth know. ”(1.7.95-96) One can infer from Macbeth’s divulging to Lady Macbeth that he has gained a confidence and certainty to kill his King: this completely overturning his earlier…
Examples Of Trickery In Macbeth
Have you ever been tricked? There were many scenes in this play that showed Macbeth tricking others into doing his dirty work for him. He managed to trick others into believing something about someone that wasn’t true and also he managed to hoax them into killing the person. The trickery going on today may not be life threatening, but it does not take away the importance of addressing these issues that I will be explaining in this essay. This is mainly going to be about all of the little lies told in the tragedy of Macbeth play.…
Theme Of Deception In Macbeth
Deception A person 's senses withhold the ability to lie. No one can truly see the beauty or the beast hidden in something just by solely looking. A great example is the tragedy Macbeth. The play, written by Shakespeare, takes place in Scotland during the 1000 's. In the opening scene, three witches chant "fair is foul and foul is fair"(I.i.12) meaning that there is evil in good, and vice versa.…
Theme Of Illusion Vs Reality In Macbeth
William Shakespeare is known for his use of illusions that distort reality to show how characters perceive situations, and how those perceptions can determine fate. Shakespeare is able to employ this theme in his characters’ thoughts, words, and actions. Deciding and acting on what is real and what is not can make or break a character. This is apparent throughout Macbeth, a play that thoroughly exemplifies the theme of illusion vs. reality.…
Ambition And Destruction In Macbeth By William Shakespeare
William Shakespeare’s 1606 tragedy, Macbeth, is a drama depicting the destructive unbridled ambition and downfall of the tragic hero, a recognisable human flaw that contributes to the enduring value of the play. Along with the political context, Macbeth highlights that excessive and disproportionate hubris will have terrible, tragic consequences. In the beginning, Macbeth’s ambition has been fuelled by devious characters such as Lady Macbeth and the three witches; this reveals the hamartia of the protagonist and the irreversible perversion of his moral compass. Shakespeare’s intent in this play is to convey the psychological and character impact that comes with excessive power and its abuse, obsession and particularly, ambition. The reader…
The Theme Of Appearance Vs. Reality In Macbeth
Zaynah Arif Ms. Boas LA Block 5/6 16 November 2015 Appearance vs. Reality The discrepancy between appearance and reality is the central concern of the play. The theme presents a knotty idea that nothing is what is seems. We live in a world where nothing and no one can be trusted; not the dreams, apparitions, or the witches. William Shakespeare uses the paradoxical motif “Fair is foul and foul is fair” to express the theme of appearance versus reality, emphasizing Macbeth’s distrust within Macbeth.…
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Macbeth - Deception 3 Pages 809 Words
Throughout Macbeth things are not always as they seem. Deception in the play is always present, with Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the three witches being the chief instigators of deception. From the very first scene, the deception within Macbeth's world is clearly defined. "Fair is foul and foul is fair", say the witches at the beginning of Macbeth. This language of contradiction that Shakespeare uses adds to the play's sense of moral confusion and quickly introduces the theme of deception to the audience, by implying that nothing is quite as it seems. Also, the play clearly shows how living a life of deceit will ultimately end in disaster. Macbeth, evidently led by his wife, but also by his own ambitions, is guilty of deception many times throughout the play. He deceives his comrade Banquo, King Duncan, as well as his public. From the beginning he welcomes Duncan into his home, knowing that he is about to be murdered. After murdering Duncan he then goes on to kill the guards outside Duncan's chamber to cover up for himself and make it look as though the guards committed the murder. Lady Macbeth is also one who conveys the theme of deceit in this play. She is very skilled at persuading others, especially her husband, into believing things that are not true. She schemes and plans right from the beginning to influence Macbeth to kill Duncan and make himself king. Look like the time, bear welcome in your eye, Your hand, your tongue: look like the innocent flower The above quote, spoken by Lady Macbeth to her husband, shows exactly how manipulative and deceiving she can be. She is telling Macbeth to look and act pure, but to be evil inside. The three witches portray the theme of deception in a different way. They deceive not by lying, rather by omitting to tell the full truth. They play with Macbeth right from the start by greet him as &apo ...
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Deception and Motivation in Macbeth
In everyday setting people pretend to hide their real personalities, faults and avoid negative consequences. Appearance that contrasted with reality is an important theme in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare. The playwright portrayed the theme in the figure of Macbeth as he deceived the other characters in the play. The need to hide his intention of becoming king, to conceal the crime that he has committed and the influence his wife, Lady Macbeth motivated Macbeth to project an image different from reality. The desire to have throne urged Macbeth to appear loyal to Duncan while harboring the thoughts of murdering the king. In order to hide the fact that he killed the king, Macbeth deceived his friend Banquo. The influence of Lady Macbeth encouraged Macbeth to portray a fake appearance to deceive others. By analyzing and inferring from the quotations in the play, I will explain the deception of Macbeth to Duncan, Banquo and Lady Macbeth and his motivations. In order to hide his true intentions of the throne, Macbeth had to project an image as a loyal general to the king. Upon his arrival at Forres, Macbeth told Duncan that he will do “everything / Safe toward your love and honor” which is a false statement because he was thinking of murdering the king instead of protecting him during his conversation with the witches. His words implied that he was convincing not only the king but also to himself that he is loyal to Duncan. After the king arrived in Inverness, Macbeth had an inner discussion to himself and he revealed that he “…have no spur/ To prick the sides of my intent, but only / Vaulting ambition…”(act 1 scene 7). His statement confirmed his only reason of killing the Duncan was his ambition and to hide his ambition to... ... middle of paper ... ... us to be watchers…”(2.2) the night after the king was murdered. Macbeth is urged to deceive others because of the orders of Lady Macbeth. Our every action has an intention. Like any one of us, Macbeth was also motivated by different factors. The goal of being a better person, the concealment of his crimes and the encouragement of his wife are his motives. Deception portrayed to us by Shakespeare is one side of a bigger argument. Deception is not always bad; deception could be a great tool if used properly. It could be used to prevent chaos by not telling the passengers of a boat the situation until the captain has fixed the problem or a father deceiving the police by saying he committed a crime even though it is really his son who is the one at fault. Whatever the reason of the deception is, we must make sure that it is ethical and morally correct.
In this essay, the author
- Analyzes how the playwright portrayed macbeth's deception as he deceived duncan, banquo, and his wife.
- Analyzes how macbeth had to project an image as a loyal general to the king in order to hide his true intentions.
- Analyzes how macbeth deceives his good friend, banquo, by telling him about the two sons of the king who are suspects in the murder of their father.
- Analyzes how lady macbeth motivated him to deceive other people by giving him pieces of advice.
- Analyzes how macbeth was motivated by different factors, such as being a better person, concealing his crimes, and encouraging his wife. deception is not always bad; it could be used to prevent chaos.
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Macbeth Ambition Analysis
Macbeth knows that killing Duncan is morally wrong as demonstrated in (I, vii, 31-32) where he states, “…we will proceed no further in this business: he hath honour’d me of late”. Yet it is his vaulting ambition that gets the better of him as he shows signs of wanting to kill Duncan. Macbeth says, “The Prince of Cumberland! – That is a step on which I must fall down, or else o’erleap…Stars hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires …” (I, v, 49 – 52). The words ‘black and deep desires’ relate to Macbeth’s evil desire and the vaulting ambition is shown to be present in him. This first sign of Macbeth’s evil nature is shown in this scene as he is slowly beginning to open up and show the real man he is. Macbeth further reinforces his evil nature as he acts surprised and outraged after Duncan’s death (II, iii, 107 – 109). Macbeth instead of listening to his conscience, he suppresses his guilt and continues with his
Examples Of Deception In Macbeth
He uses it in a very versatile manner, especially after killing someone. An example of this would be after King Duncan’s assassination, Macbeth explains, “[Duncan’s] silver skin laced with his golden blood; And his gashed stabs looked like a breach in nature.” (2.3.91-92) This is an example of the theme “appearances can be deceiving” because he is disguising his lustful killing using grieve as a means to blend in with everyone else. Even though the others are questioning about who may have done the killing, Macbeth is the killer using deception to hide it. Deception is also prominent when he first meets the witches. He explains “Glamis, and thane of Cawdor! The greatest is behind [.]” (1.3.118-119) This displays deception because even though he does not externally show interest or emotion, internally he is continuously thinking about it. Beside deception, this is what initially creates his ambition and lustful nature. An example of this is when Banquo is invited to the dinner party. He explains that Banquo is “our chief guest.” (3.1.11) But, when he talks to the murderers, he explains, “Both of you Know Banquo was your enemy.” (3.1.118-119) This conveys the theme “appearances can be deceiving” because he dissembled his honest intentions from Banquo, and alarmingly, he hired assassins specifically to kill Banquo. Although Macbeth is very clever at portraying the theme “appearances can be deceiving”, Lady Macbeth also excels at this as
Macbeth - Conflict
Encompassing all the evidence that has been presented and after reading and viewing Polanski and Shakespeare's renditions of MACBETH it is logical to come to the conclusion that ambition and deceptive appearances is central to the dramatic development of MACBETH. Without ambition MACBETH would not have pursued his path to become King of Scotland so viciously. Deceptive appearances is the key to this play because without hiding reality all the evil enfolding this play, all the intentions of protagonist and the other characters would have been revealed. Without the centralisation of these themes, MACBETH would have been altered and the plot would be non-existent.
Blind Ambition in Macbeth
Among the greatest gifts that the renaissance produced was the eloquent and incredible Shakespearean plays. Written mostly in the 1590s these plays have been performed and admired countless times; entertaining mass audiences by providing interesting tales that explore the depth of human insights and the different universal themes. Among the many Shakespearean plays Macbeth, written in 1606, stands out with its short composition but multiple themes. This tragedy narrates the tale of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s quest to grasp ultimate power by ignoring their morals and succumbing to their dark desires, which ultimately leads to their downfall. This tragic play portrays the desires, needs, and temptations that accompany ambition in men and women. However the ambition in Macbeth is blind, it does not abide to the morals, but it allows space for dark actions as means necessary for accomplishment. Blind ambition serves as the main driving force that drives Macbeth to subdue to his dark desires, defy his noble behavior, and ultimately his downfall.
Macbeth: The Evolution of Corruption
Perhaps the most fundamental theme of Shakespeare’s Macbeth is the inherent corruptibility of even a seemingly good man when ambition turns to greed, and Macbeth himself exemplifies this concept throughout the play. While at the outset he is seen to be loyal to his king, generally considered trustworthy, and displaying numerous other laudable qualities, Macbeth ultimately succumbs to the influence of those around him and becomes unequivocally evil, setting aside all his previously held morals and coming to be driven only by his lust for power. This transition is brought about by a wide variety of factors and plays an integral role in the development of the plot. In his tragedy Macbeth, William Shakespeare employs
Prosecution Of Macbeth (if He Was Tried For The Murder Of Duncan)
Macbeth stated ?I am settled, and bend up each corporal agent to this terrible feat. Away, and mock the time with fairest show: False face must hide what false heart doth know.? (Pg 55) This demonstrates that he was resolute and determined to use all the powers of his body to commit that terrible murder. He was to deceive the world by framing two innocent servants and appearing distraught by Duncan?s untimely death. The death of a king, who was a kind-hearted man, was aided by the blatant mis-use of his own love, loyalty and trust for his closest friends
The Insecurity of Shakespeare's Macbeth
This shows that he really didn't want to kill Duncan, but he did it in order to prove himself to Lady Macbeth, and to become the king. By the end he had no fear, and had killed not only Duncan but also many other people. He now had different views from which he had in the beginning of the play. Macbeth realizes that he is no longer afraid "no, nor more fearful. (Act V, scene vii, l 9). He is now considered a man, but he doesn't like the fact that he has killed all these people.
Deceptive Appearances in Macbeth
Though he is still with Banquo and the other thanes, this quote shows that Macbeth is already thinking about murdering Duncan. He uses his appearance to cover up his thoughts about killing the king from Banquo, even though he is clearly shaken by the idea. Another example is when Macbeth hides his plan to murder Duncan from the guests at his castle. Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth know that Duncan is going to be murdered; however, they both act and appear normal amongst their guests. Macbeth describes how he must behave when he says, “False face hide what the false heart doth know.” (1.7.82). He has to hide his intentions behind a façade in order to appear innocent. He misleads Duncan and his guests into believing that he is still a trustworthy and loyal soldier before he murders the king. After the murd...
Deceit and Betrayal in Shakespeare's Macbeth
Shakespeare's play "Macbeth" is considered one of his great tragedies. The play fully uses plot, character, setting, atmosphere, diction and imagery to create a compelling drama. The general setting of Macbeth is tenth and eleventh century Scotland. The play is about a once loyal and trusted noble of Scotland who, after a meeting with three witches, becomes ambitious and plans the murder of the king. After doing so and claiming the throne, he faces the other nobles of Scotland who try to stop him. In the play, Macbeth faces an internal conflict with his opposing decisions. On one hand, he has to decide of he is to assassinate the king in order to claim his throne. This would result in his death for treason if he is caught, and he would also have to kill his friend. On the other hand, if he is to not kill him, he may never realize his ambitious dreams of ruling Scotland. Another of his internal struggles is his decision of killing his friend Banquo. After hiring murderers to kill him, Macbeth begins to see Banquo's ghost which drives him crazy, possibly a result of his guilty conscience. Macbeth's external conflict is with Macduff and his forces trying to avenge the king and end Macbeth's reign over Scotland. One specific motif is considered the major theme, which represents the overall atmosphere throughout the play. This motif is "fair is foul and foul is fair."
The Emotions of Ambition, Remorse, and Fear in 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare
Macbeth is captured by his wild ambition at the opening of the play when he and Banqou meet the three witches. The witches tell Macbeth that he is the Thane of Cawdor, and later will be king. They tell Banquo that his sons will be kings. Instantly Macbeth started to fantasize how he is going to be king. He understood that in order for him to become king he has to kill Duncan. “My thought, whose murder yet is but fantastical”(Act 1 Sc. 3, p.23). He was pondering about the assassination until the moment that he could no longer control his emotions. “To prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself and falls on the other-“(Act 1 Sc. 7, p.41). Because of his “vaulting ambition” he killed Duncan.
Appearance and Reality in Shakespeare's Macbeth
The theme of appearance versus reality is very important in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. The characters of Duncan, Macbeth, and Lady Macbeth are unable to differentiate between appearance and reality, resulting in tragic consequences. Poor judgment is evidenced by Duncan, who trusts Macbeth too much; Lady Macbeth, who is fooled by the witches; and Macbeth, who is tricked repeatedly by others.
The Corruptive Force Of Ambition In Shakespeare's Macbeth
Shakespeare depicts the corruptive power of ambition to the audience as the protagonist, Macbeth is led by his unchecked ambition despite acknowledging it. Macbeth's private ambitions are made clear to the audience through his asides and soliloquies. Macbeth who was initially faithful to Duncan and was aware of his ambition, couldn't control it and thus, made him become a murderous tyrant, obsessed with power and full of fear and insecurities. From the beginning of the play, Macbeth had ambitions. This was shown once the witches told Banquo and him the prophecies. Macbeth is left confused but it sparked his ambition. Banquo ponders aloud, 'the instruments of darkness tell us truths, (to) win us with honest trifles,' to then 'betrays in deepest consequence.' Banquo tries to metaphorically explain to Macbeth that the witches only told them some truth so that they could make Macbeth believe them. Unknowingly, Banquo foreshadows Macbeth's decision to betray Duncan and kill him. After this, Macbeth's corruptive ambition and thirst for power thrives. However, prior to Duncan's death, Macbeth was aware of his ambition but his morals didn't fit them. Thus, his initial decision to not kill King Duncan. He had clearly stated that he 'have no spur to prick the sides of my intent,' but it is 'only vaulting ambition, which overleaps itself and falls on the other.' Macbeth metaphorically
Vaulting Ambition in Shakespeare's Macbeth
In the play Macbeth, Macbeth's ambition was to become king. But the only that he saw fit to become king was to kill Duncan. Duncan and Macbeth were cousins, and Duncan was a kind person to Macbeth. But Macbeth was blinded by his ambition. Macbeth said, "I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o'erleaps itself and falls on the other," (Act I Scene VII). By this quote, Macbeth meant that the only reason he sees to kill Duncan was because he wanted to become king. He didn't think about the future consequences or repercussions. At first Macbeth was loyal, but his ambition overcame his morals a kind-heartedness and made him evil.
Macbeth, a Noble Man Gone Astray
Lady Macbeth and the witches have both planted the seed of ambition inside of Macbeth Because of Lady Macbeth’s wicked behavior, which resulted in Macbeth’s evil transition; he was led to become a murderer. Macbeth should not be held accountable for his actions completely since she is the one who lead him towards committing both crimes. The major theme ambition and greed for power have played a key part in Macbeth’s fall from a great Scottish general to a murderer. People should be content on what they have and not strive for things which destroy a person even if we are influenced. In this case Shakespeare’s thought proving play of Macbeth.
Theme Of Ambition In Macbeth
Ambition is an underlying theme throughout Macbeth, it is the tragic flaw in human kind, bound to lead to disaster. In Act 1 scene 7 this is one of the most interesting scenes of the play. This is the last time as we see Macbeth a freeman, he can still make the decision whether he wants to be good or evil. The choices that are preventing Macbeth are committing the murder, fear of the consequences on this earth, variety of feelings of kinship, loyalty, and hospitality he admires Duncan’s goodness as he is not the most moral character but hes power is what urges him on that are motives of good A soliloquy, which is found in Act 1, scene 7, in the lines 1-28, Macbeth debates whether he should kill Duncan. The imagery that is in this speech can be dark and moody for most people. Some examples we hear of imagery are “bloody instructions,” “deep damnation,” and a “poisoned chalice”—and suggests that Macbeth is aware of how the murder would open the door to a dark and sinful world. When the soliloquy ends, Macbeth goes to resolve to not kill Duncan but this only...
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Deception in Macbeth
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Macbeth shows deception and betrayal undermine society
Why Is Lady Macbeth A Character In Macbeth?
Are Women Portrayed as Evil in " Macbeth"?
macbeth- appearance vs reality
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How is deceit presented in Macbeth?
Deceit in Macbeth: Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are prepared to lie to people in order to seize power, however they are punished for it in the end. Shakespeare wanted to show that people who lie and deceive should not be given power. Duncan is a kind king, but he is killed because he is too trusting. Malcolm is less trusting, as shown when he escapes to England to get away from whoever killed his father.
During the opening of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth suggests that her husband is not someone who is capable of deceit. His presentation at the beginning suggests that he is a good man, and someone who “woulds’t not play false.” However, during the first act she encourages him to lie in order to seize power. During the middle of the play, Macbeth becomes an accomplished liar: He lies to his friend, Banquo, to find out where the murderers can find him; and he lies to the murderers to make sure they hate Banquo enough to see the deed through. However, at the end of the play, Macbeth is tricked by the witches who make him think he’s immortal and cannot be hurt. This makes him overconfident and he is eventually killed.
Quotes about Deceit in Macbeth:
This theme of deceit is established in the opening scene with the witches famous incantation: “ Fair is foul and foul is fair .” As a phrase this shows how things will be reversed in the play: fair things will be bad and bad things good. This is also in part because the witches will invert the natural order when they make Macbeth commit regicide; also things like gender are inverted in the play which means no-one is who they seem. Also, contradictory language is used throughout the play to suggest that things are never what they seem.
Equally, A1S2 the captain talks about Macbeth as being “ brave ” and honourable though he turns out to be neither. Duncan even calls him “ worthy ” which shows the extent to which Macbeth has deceived them all into thinking he is trustworthy.
In A1S3, when Banquo and Macbeth first meet the witches, Banquo’s says that they “ look not like th’ inhabitants o’ th’ earth and yet are on it ,” and he says that “ they should be women and yet their beard forbid me to interpret them so .” These contradictions show just how untrustworthy the witches are – how deceitful. They are not what they seem and should not be trusted as a result. Also, just after seeing the witches there is a clear breakdown in communication between Macbeth and Banquo. Banquo calls Macbeth “ rapt ” – meaning gripped by a kind of passion or confusion – but Macbeth is never really honest with Banquo as to why. Here, he suggests that they should speak later but they never speak – he does this in A2S1 as well. This breakdown in communication leads Macbeth to become isolated and an easy victim to the scheming witches and his wife.
In A1S4, Duncan is talking about the former Thane of Cawdor, a man who betrayed him and fought against him. Duncan says that: “ there’s no art/ To find the mind’s construction in the face:/ He was a gentleman on whom I built/ An absolute trust. ” This shows Duncan’s trusting nature – he wanted to trust the Thane and he did, but it cost him dearly; this is exactly the same thing that happens with Macbeth: he trusts him and it costs him. It shows the damage that comes when a leader cannot trust their subjects. Also, this phrase neatly summarises a key issue with deceit in Macbeth: the fact that we cannot see “the mind’s construction” – the way that the mind is made-up – in someone’s face. It makes it clear that deceit is possible, because it is impossible to really see what’s on someone’s mind.
A1S5 is Lady Macbeth’s big evil-scene where she calls on the spirits. In this scene she is angry with Macbeth because he’s too nice – she “ fears ” his nature. Here she also says that he “ would’st not play false ,” which is a clear statement that he doesn’t want to lie – or is incapable of lying. Also, once she tells Macbeth her plan to kill Duncan she says that his “ face is a book where men may read strange matters. ” She says this because his response to the plan is obviously to look really guilty and shocked. This supports the idea that Macbeth is not naturally very good at being deceitful.
This scene also has the most famous line in the play about deceit: “ Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under’t .” This is Lady Macbeth instructing her husband on how to lie. The first half of the image highlights just how perfect he should look: the adjective innocent is associated with purity and perfection; while flowers are symbols of happiness and joy. Flowers are also natural which suggests she is reminding him to keep looking like the natural order will be retained. The serpent, however, is a clear reference to Satan, who appeared as a serpent in Genesis. While his position “ under’t ” reminds us of Hell, where Satan lives. Lady Macbeth is basically telling her husband to look absolutely perfect, but continue to be perfectly evil.
In A1S6, Lady Macbeth welcomes Duncan to her castle – it is interesting that Macbeth is not there. Duncan calls the castle a “ pleasant seat ” and says that the “ air sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses .” This shows just how deceived Duncan has been – he thinks that the Macbeths are lovely and welcoming and “ pleasant ” – an adjective that is really quite soft and harmless. Also, the way he talks about himself as having “ gentle senses ” makes Duncan out to be innocent and, perhaps even, naïve. He’s not being a strong leader here, he’s talking about fresh air and wonder. Lady Macbeth welcomes him warmly, saying that he deserves “ honours deep and broad. ” However, in an example of dramatic irony (which is when the audience knows something the characters don’t), we know that she is being deceitful.
In A3S3 – the scene in which they find Duncan’s dead body – deceit is everywhere! Macbeth acts as though nothing has happened. At first he says that he’ll go and get Duncan from his bed, though he allows Macduff to go instead. Lennox asks when the king is leaving and Macbeth says that he’s leaving later in the afternoon. It seems Macbeth is now a more capable liar than before. When Macduff returns and says that king has been slain, Macbeth screams “ Woe! Alas! ” in mock grief. He also cleverly kills the guard so that no-one can question them. Lady Macbeth is the same, she pretends to feint in shock. In this scene, the two of them are perfect little liars.
Although everyone seems to buy the Macbeths lies, Malcom and Donaldbain seem convinced that something is not right and decide to flee. They don’t mention Macbeth directly, but say that “ there’s daggers in men’s smiles ” where they are – showing that they are not as trusting or naïve as their father – they don’t trust people, even if they smile or look like “ innocent flowers .”
In A3S1, Macbeth is preparing to murder Banquo. He speaks to him about his day, where he will ride to, and what he will do. He is clearly trying to get information from him so that he can send his murderers in pursuit, but Banquo won’t give any information away. This shows that by this stage in the play, Banquo and Macbeth’s relationship has broken down and they are no longer friends, and don’t trust each other anymore – the deceit has won. After this, Macbeth talks to the hired murderers and lies to them, quite comfortably, about Banquo; he tells them that Banquo was the source of much of their misery and suffering. Although you need to be careful with this, I think it is worth saying that this is a mighty big character change we’ve witnessed from Macbeth here. When his wife spoke about him in A1S5 she said that he “ woulds’t not play false ” – which suggests that he didn’t like lying – she also said that he wanted things “ holily ” and was too full of the “ milk of human kindness .” And yet now, just a few days of real time later, Macbeth is suddenly lying to murderers to arrange for them to kill his best friend. This is no longer a man who “ woulds’t not play false ,” in fact he seems quite comfortable with it. I think the accepted wisdom would argue that Macbeth has changed since the witches’ prophecy, though I think it’s also worth mentioning that this is a… massive personality shift from him that is – whisper it – unbelievable? Did he really change from being someone who “woulds’t not play false” to a comfortable liar in that space of time, and if so what drove him to do that?
In A3S2, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are preparing for the banquet. At the opening of this scene Lady Macbeth talks about how she now believes that “ ‘Tis safer to be that which we destroy / Than by destruction dwell in doubtful joy .” By this, she means that she’s starting to feel that she would rather be dead than keep living in fear. This is another significant shift for her, and it’s also the only time she ever expresses any doubts about what they did before she kills herself. But what’s important for deceit is the fact that she expresses this fear, and then, later in the scene, Macbeth expresses the same fear when he says it is “ better be with the dead, Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to peace, Than on the torture of the mind to lie In restless ecstasy .” When she hears this, she tells him not to worry about it and to be “ bright and jovial ” amongst their guests. She, basically, tells him to lie again. However, she had just privately expressed exactly the same fear: the desire to be dead rather than live on as they are doing. So in this scene, they both feel the same way but haven’t actually admitted it to each other. This shows the beginnings of deceit in their relationship.
In A3S5, Hecate comes to visit the witches, and instructs them to make Macbeth feel overconfident, saying “ security is mortal’s chiefest enemy .” The witches tell Macbeth a series of prophecies that make it sound like he’s immortal – that he’s safe until Birnham Woods come to his castle walls, and that no man of woman born can hurt him. However, they are being deceitful. They’re only saying this to make Macbeth feel arrogant so he’ll make a mistake.
And so, although the Macbeth’s tried to use lies and deceit to seize power, in the end they were lied to themselves and lost power as a result of it.
Context & Shakespeare’s intention: Why did Shakespeare present deceit in this way?
Shakespeare wrote the play for King James I of England. James had taken over a kingdom that had been torn apart by violence for many years. Jacobean England was a place where it was difficult to know who to trust.
There were two main reasons for this:
Firstly, it was because James’s grandfather, Henry VIII, had wanted to divorce his wife and so he made England Protestant rather than Catholic. For a while being Catholic was a crime that was punishable by death, and often people turn in their neighbours or friends.
And secondly, it was a time when people believed in, and burnt, witches. As a result, women had to be constantly aware of how they behaved because a man they wronged could accuse them of a crime that would see them burnt at the stake.
As a result, people were constantly aware of secrets and the damage they could do. Shakespeare wrote a play in which deception was punished: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and the witches are all clearly shown to be evil for lying and are punished accordingly. This would have made the play very appealing for James I.
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Macbeth and Deception
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