Elucidation Regarding the Stages Set by 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair' (I: i, 10), in William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Macbeth

Elucidation Regarding the Stages Set by 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair' (I: i, 10), in William Shakespeare's The Tragedy of Macbeth

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Shakespeare utilizes many paradoxes in The Tragedy of Macbeth to provide entertainment for the audience. The people during the Renaissance loved paradoxes because of their unique structure. In the exposition, the paradoxes the witches present, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I: i, 10), sets the stages of the tragedy because it holds various significant meaning. Literally, the quotation transcends to good is bad, and bad is good; however, it actually implies that one cannot assume anything. The paradox displays the style and diction that Shakespeare continues to utilize throughout the tragedy. His style and diction supports the paradox as it creates confusion that causes the audience to recall that nothing can be assumed. In addition, it allows one to expect other paradoxes along with imagery that further supports the paradox, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I: i, 10).
The style Shakespeare utilizes creates obscurity of the lot at first; however, as the tragedy progresses, the truths unravel. He purposely utilizes this style because it relates in with the paradox, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I, i, 10). Shakespeare introduces Macbeth as a noble, loyal character that is a potential analog to a hero because of his glorified action against Macdonwald. Shakespeare elucidates Macbeth’s glorified action by stating, “He unseamed him from the nave to th’ chops” (I: ii, 22), which shows Macdonwald is tied to the land because his body is not in one piece; therefore, he cannot go to heaven. This causes one to assume that Macbeth is a hero; however, as the tragedy continues, Macbeth turns out to be an analog of the devil. His ambition for power causes him to lose sight of himself and betrays his king along with his country. The a...


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...ing can happen. The three apparitions warn Macbeth of potential threat, but his abrupt response foreshadows his downfall. Throughout the tragedy, the witches were never wrong. The paradox is essentially the foundation of the entire drama by causing one to question the truth.
Macbeth’s conflicting ambitious character causes him to perform his actions leading to his downfall. By using ambition as the characters driving factors along with the paradox, “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I, i, 10), allows the reader to conclude that nothing in the tragedy can be assume because anything can occur. Ambitions cause one to lose their inner self, as the Talmud states, “Ambition destroys the soul of its possessor.” Shakespeare utilizes style, diction, paradoxes, and imagery to confuse the audience while incorporating the element of foreshadowing to hint approaching events.

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