Macbeth Appearances Shakespeare’s Macbeth involves betrayal, frauds, and false appearances between the characters. Nothing is what is seems to be. The characters’ ambitions grow and evil controls their fate. As the story develops, the realities of the situations become pure illusions. Everything starts to become an illusion after Macbeth meets the three witches. Repeatedly, he begins to ponder on the idea of becoming king. Knowing that this could be true, he and Lady Macbeth plan a scheme to get rid of Duncan (the present king). At the banquet, Lady Macbeth appears to appreciate Duncan by complementing him with meaningless phrases.
“All our service, In every point twice done and then done double,”1 This does not mean anything to Lady Macbeth. Her words are very different than those from her thoughts. She was the one who in the first place persuaded Macbeth in killing Duncan. After Duncan is killed, Lady Macbeth acts as if the news shocked her, “Help me hence, ho!”2 In scene vii of Act 1, the audience listens to Macbeth talking to himself. In this soliloquy he has doubts in killing Duncan, he believes Duncan has been a good king and that it is safer for him not to get into any danger.
Lady Macbeth convinces him to do what was planned by threatening his manhood. Macbeth talks with Banquo, who had dreamt about the witches prophecies. After Macbeth is left alone, he sees a dagger. In this other soliloquy we can now see what is going through his mind. The audience now realizes that Macbeth is determined to become king while he describes how he will “Moves like a ghost..Hear not my steps, which (way they) walk, for fear”3 After he hears the bell the audience definitely knows that Duncan will be killed.
“I go, and it is done. The bell invites me.”4 When the news of Duncan’s death reaches Macbeth, the audience can tell that he is different from the rest of the people. Everyone is shocked by the death and talks direct and spontaneously, while Macbeth speaks poetically. “Who can be wise, amazed, temp’rate, and furious, Loyal, and neutral, in a moment? No man.”5 This way Shakespeare informs the audience that Macbeth had already practiced what he was going to say. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth create many illusions in the story, but they are not the only characters who do this. Banquo begins to suspect that Macbeth killed Duncan so that he could become king, but does not say anything directly at him. Macbeth senses this and his ambition grows.
He does not want Banquo’s sons to become king the day he dies. As a friendly gesture, he invites him to a feast, which in reality is a plan to kill him. As well as Banquo, Lennox is suspicious of Macbeth. He does not say anything to Macbeth and acts as if everything is normal. He acts as if Macbeth is a good king, when in reality he is waiting for Macduff to return with help from England to overthrow Macbeth from the throne. The notion of fate is clearly portrayed in the story.
Fate is introduced by the witches. At the beginning of the play they plan to meet with Macbeth and they say “Fair is foul, and foul is fair, Hover through the fog and filthy air.”6 This line shows foreshadowing; it makes the audience know that something unfair and evil will occur. When they meet Macbeth, they greet him first as Thane of Glamis, then as Thane of Cawdor and then as king. The moment Macbeth hears this, he is confused but curious why these witches had called him king. After he knows that he became Thane of Cawdor he believes that sooner or later he will be king. The three witches suggested his destiny. Macbeth’s goal was not to become king until the witches made him believe it was his destiny.
In the play, destiny was paved out by the witches. Destiny is not something that cannot be changed. A person has control of his/her destiny. Macbeth’s destiny was suggested by the witches, he listened to their suggestions and followed them. Macbeth is not controlled by fate; instead he is the one who decided to listen and wants to meet the witches again.
He thought about becoming king, but was not totally sure of it. This decision was encouraged by his wife, who controlled him in the decisions he made so that these could benefit her. Macbeth controlled his life when he does not want to kill his king. After he talks to Banquo the day he was supposed to kill the king, destiny enters in his life. Macbeth sees a dagger and imagines that it is a sign for him to kill Duncan.
“Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? As this which now I draw..And such instrument I was to use.”7 Macbeth feels as if the dagger was placed as well as its handle toward him because it was meant for him to become king. If the witches had not met Macbeth, he would not have become king. His ambition grew more after they told him he would become king of Scotland. The witches seem to have been planning on meeting him because they knew he was going to the impossible in order to become king. If they had never met him, he would remain being Thane of Cawdor. Macbeth would have continued to be loyal and would have not betrayed God, the king, Scotland and himself.
Macbeth would not have acted paranoid and see his life as an empty meaningless charade. Macbeth is filled with different issues that were of great interest during Shakespearean times. Turning your back towards the king must have been a shock to the audience as well as the death of him. Fate was another thing that captured the audience’s attention because it is a supernatural force that can not always be controlled. These two subjects were the most appealing and most obvious throughout the story.