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Are things as they seem?
All things have an appearance, usually a good or a bad one. Depending on the appearance something has we form an opinion about it. Sometimes the appearance something has can mislead one in forming an accurate opinion about it. In Macbeth, Shakespeare shows us that things are not always as they appear to be. This is shown through the duplicity of Macbeth and his wife, the kings sons and the servants being blamed for Duncan's death and King Duncan's inaccurate opinions.
In the beginning of the play Macbeth is a well respected hero who appears to be a great guy. However, by the end of the play it is clear that Macbeth is a selfish, troubled man with a conscience that seems to serve no purpose. In lines 81-82 on page 240, Macbeth tells how he must mislead the world and hide his dark side from it. "Away, and mock the time with fairest show: False face must hide what the false heart doth know." On page 249 Macbeth does a good job of hiding his dark side before finding the dead king with Macduff. "Is the king stirring, worthy Thane?" asks Macduff.
"Not yet," replies Macbeth.
"Goes the king hence today?" asks Macduff.
"He does: he did appoint so," answers Macbeth. Although Macbeth has full knowledge of the king's death, he plays it off well and appears to know nothing. Lady Macbeth appears to be a nice hospitable woman. However, her heart is dark and full of evil. On page 236, the king talks to Lady Macbeth, telling her of the honor and love that he has for her. "See, see, our honored hostess! The love that follows us sometime is our trouble, which still we thank as love. Herein I teach you How you shall bid God 'ield us for your pains And thank us for your trouble." His opinion of Lady Macbeth highly exceeds that of which it should. He has such a high opinion of Lady Macbeth because he is mislead by her good appearance.
It is ironic that Duncan thinks so highly of Macbeth and his wife, as on page 232 when he says "There's no art To find the mind's construction in the face:" This is ironic because it directly applies to the king and Macbeth. (The king does not know Macbeth's true mind construction.
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There are some characters in Macbeth who appear to be guilty of something although they are not. The two servants are found disoriented and covered with the king's blood in the morning which makes them appear to be the murderers. (Courtesy of Macbeth and his nutty wife.) Malcom and Donalbain are next in line to the throne, so they appear to be the ones who had the servants kill the king. Although the king's sons and the servants appear to be the murderers, they are not. They are completely innocent because Macbeth and his wife are the murderers.
Macbeth and his wife appeared to be honorable people. Even so, they had wicked hearts. The castle appeared to be a safe place, but it actually turned out to be the king's meeting place with death. The king's sons appeared to be the murderers though they had done nothing wrong. From the evidence gathered it is clear that things aren't always as they appear to be. Because of this, it is important that we take care in forming opinions which are based on appearance alone. More importantly, we should not weigh appearances too heavily because of the inaccuracy that our opinions may have.