A Foul Blessing: Macbeth

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A Foul Blessing: Macbeth

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth begins with the sinister meeting of three witches in thunder and lightning. They plan to meet again “when the battle’s lost and won” (I, i, 4). Before they depart, the witches declare that “foul is fair, and fair is foul” (I, i, 10). Everything has a deceptive appearance. Circumstances oppose each other. In the duration of Act I, these interpretations of the witches’ declaration prove to be frequent in the dialogue of the characters, and in the situations of the plot.

The main character of the play, Macbeth, is stunned by the prophecies of the three witches. He is unsure of how to take the prophecies of becoming the Thane of Cawdor and then king. Stunned when the second prophecy comes true, Macbeth whispers to himself that “[his] supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, cannot be good” (I, iii, 130-131). His feelings conflict with each other, as he is both pleased by the good fortunes, and dismayed at the prospect of what he may have to do to attain it. In this way, he is drawn in by the witches’ appearances and words, contrary t...
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