Free Macbeth Essays: Appearance and Reality

Free Macbeth Essays: Appearance and Reality

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Appearance and Reality in Macbeth  


Appearance does not always agree with reality. A limited view on an event or a subject will likely lead to a limited or even false conclusion. For example, in Shakespeare’s tragic play Macbeth, the Scottish nobles viewed main character Macbeth as a "bloody tyrant"; for the readers, Macbeth is not total evil character, but nearly a hero with much physical strength and greatness. Only if he didn’t betray his king, he would’ve been a great thane. This essay is going to be dealt with this difference in appearance and reality of Macbeth


Macbeth is a deranged, old man with flashes of former greatness. He came into the play as a man of honor respected by his fellow soldiers, and has shown great bravery and physical strength, fighting under King Duncan. As reported by the bloody general "Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel…smoked with bloody execution…carved out his passage…fixed his head upon our battlement." (I, ii, 15-25) From this quote we can image Macbeth’s heroic qualities: courage, bravery and unstoppable. King Duncan greatly praised Macbeth for the Bravery and Loyalty, but what he didn’t see from Macbeth’s face (Appearance) is the dark desire of Macbeth who is planning to murder the king (reality).


From this point on, as the witches’ prophecies come in and Macbeth’s ambition aided by Lady Macbeth, this heroic character in both the reader’s mind and Scottish noble’s mind started its downfall. After the murdered King Duncan, quoted from Banquo "…and I fear thou play’dst most foully for ’t." (III, I, 3) all Scottish nobles are suspicious about Macbeth of murdering King Duncan. Ever after, Macbeth seems to believe in his philosophy "things bad begun make strong themselves by ill", (III, iii, 55) and try to cover up his murder by killing more and more. At last, his ambition drove him from a hero to a tyrant that "blisters…tongues" (VI, iii, 10-15)

Flashbacks of Macbeth’s greatness once again reappear at the end of his tragic story in the speech "tomorrow, and tomorrow and tomorrow…." (V, v, 15-30) Through this speech we can feel his sadness and rage toward his meaningless life "life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player, that struts and frets his hours upon stage, and then is heard no more." When Macbeth realized the prophecies of his crisis coming, he said "if this which he avouches does appear,/there is nor flying hence nor tarrying here.

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/I’gin to be aweary of the sun,/and wish th’ estate o’ th’ world were now undone./…at least we’ll die with harness on our back". (V, vi, 45-55) Macbeth’s great physical strength is shown once more, at that point when he loses his life partner (wife), revolts raises everywhere against him, and omens foreshadowing the death of himself; he could still stand up and fight for his life. Such strength, such courage, is completely different from the image of Macbeth for the Scottish nobles, a "bloody tyrant"; and these heroic qualities could’ve leaded him to the most honored title under Duncan’s reign only if he didn’t betrayed his king. We pity Macbeth for his sorrow ending; but despite his sick mind and brutal ambition.

We view Macbeth as an evil man but have some great images; yet Scottish nobles saw0 Macbeth as a totally bloody tyrant. Different points of view will often lead to different conclusions; therefore what things appears to be is not necessarily the reality. Same thing in everyday life, judging something from only the appearance often led to a limited conclusion.


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