Presentation on theme: "Themes: Appearance versus Reality The reality of a situation is very rarely what it appears to be in Macbeth and there are many examples of this. This."— Presentation transcript:
Themes: Appearance versus Reality The reality of a situation is very rarely what it appears to be in Macbeth and there are many examples of this. This important theme is introduced in the witches' chant of "Fair is foul and foul is fair". This suggests that something may be good for some people, but bad for others. To Macbeth, the promises of the witches seem good, but this is deceptive: actually, they will destroy him.
Duncan, too, makes errors, misjudging the appearance of his Thanes. He has been betrayed by the first thane of Cawdor and Duncan again misjudges the new Thane of Cawdor – Macbeth. When Duncan visits Macbeth's castle, he is deceived by the peaceful atmosphere "This castle hath a pleasant seat”. Lady Macbeth and Macbeth pretend to welcome Duncan affectionately while at the same time planning the king’s murder. Themes: Appearance versus Reality
The best examples of false appearance are the witches. Their first prophecies appear to give Macbeth good news, however Banquo is suspicious and warns Macbeth “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.” Banquo is right but Macbeth doesn’t listen and chooses to trust them. The promises made by the witches' predictions later in the play also highlight the theme of appearance versus reality: "None of woman born shall harm Macbeth"; "Fear not, till Birnam Wood do come to Dunsinane". These promises appear to say Macbeth is invincible, but this is an illusion. Macbeth blindly trusts what these powers of evil tell him and is destroyed as a result.
Theme: Guilt The idea of guilt first appears in Act 1 Scene 3, when Banquo shows his surprise at Macbeth's reaction to the witches' promises: "Why do you start and seem to fear, /Things that do sound so fair?" The word 'start', meaning to jump with shock, is always associated with a guilty reaction. Macbeth's guilt is later seen when he hallucinates that a blood-covered dagger is leading him to murder Duncan. In the murder scene, we see Macbeth is tormented by guilt. He imagines his guilty conscience will never let him sleep peacefully again: "Methought I heard a voice cry “Sleep no more”.
Theme: Guilt References to sleeplessness recur later in the play, as when Lady Macbeth says, "You lack the season of all natures, sleep". Even when he does sleep he will be tormented by his guilt in the "terrible dreams that shake us nightly". Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s guilt is shown through the idea of blood-stained hands. Macbeth refers to his own hands as "hangman's hands", which would be covered in blood.
Theme: Guilt When Lady Macbeth urges him to wash the blood off, he realises it is impossible to wash away his guilt. His crime is so wicked that the blood will pollute the whole ocean “Making the green one red". During the murder scene, Lady Macbeth reassures him: "A little water clears us of the deed". Lady Macbeth is being very naïve and the audience understands how wrong she was when they see her sleepwalking scene later in the play. She then obsessively washes imaginary blood from her hands.
Theme: Guilt After arranging Banquo's murder, Macbeth is tortured by guilt even more. He imagines the ghost of Banquo returns to accuse him. In Act 5, we see Lady Macbeth destroyed by their crime and her guilt is revealed for all to see. Her guilty conscience is shown through her sleeplessness. She is also seen constantly washing her hands, as her guilt has made the stains that cannot be removed: "Out damned spot!…'All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand".
Theme: Guilt Her rambling words reveal her part in Macbeth's crimes: "Who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?" She reassured Macbeth in Act 3"What's done is done" but now she sees that her guilt is destroying her: "What's done cannot be undone". When he meets Macduff, Macbeth finally faces his guilt. Believing in the witches' prophecy that "none of woman born shall harm Macbeth", he warns Macduff to stay away from him.
Theme: Guilt He admits to Macduff "My soul is too much charged with blood of thine already", which means that he already feels guilty enough about the brutal killing of Macduff's wife and children. When Macduff reveals he was "from his mother's womb untimely ripped", Macbeth knows he is about to pay for his crimes.