Imagery In Shakespeare Essay, Research Paper
The play opens with three witches.
First Witch?When shall we meet again??
Second witch?When the hurly-burly?s done
When the battle?s lost and won?
All?Fair is foul, and foul is fair?(I.1.1-13)
The tone of the entire play has been set. With unsuspecting eyes, the first reading of this, one would not know that this is the witches? way of saying that there will be chaos, and lots of it to come throughout the play. Their opening is like a tease, they give us just enough and then they withdraw. Without saying much, the story is practically told. The language that the witches used might be interpreted as contradictory but I don?t look at it that way. It?s a riddle, a puzzle that can be put together.
?When the hurly burly?s done.? ? when all the mayhem is over they will meet again. Well there?s chaos throughout, so when can they mean? I believe they?re referring to Macbeth?s actions. Macbeth causes this chaos; it all starts when he kills King Duncan and isn?t satisfied and proceeds to have Banquo murdered. It seems as if he?s on a murder spree because he also has Fleance, Lady Macduff and Macduff?s son slain. All because of fear that they will one day have a claim to the throne.
His good conscience and memories of his actions tug at his soul and leads Macbeth to hallucinate and see ghosts. But more is to come. His greed and lust after the throne causes a rebellion against him led by Malcolm and Macduff.
?When the battle?s lost and won.? In class we discussed a meaning of this line and interpreted it to mean; after the deceit of the original Thane of Cawdor was found out by the King he lost his title and Macbeth won it. This is a line that could have more than one meaning. If we look at Macbeth?s actions as a battle we can see what the witches mean. Macbeth won his title as King by killing King Duncan. Now the battle has begun. With any battle the innocent are sometimes caught between the crossfire. The innocent in this play would be Banquo, Fleance, Lady Macduff and her son. Although treacherous and gory, Macbeth felt it needed to be done. This is the rationale of anyone fighting a war.
Macbeth lost his battle once Macduff and Malcolm got involved. They are an opposing side to Macbeth and they win. And the throne is given to Malcolm. All of this could have been avoided if Macbeth only knew who his true enemies were.
?Fair is foul, and foul is fair.? Everything happens for a reason. A prophecy was told to Macbeth by the witches that he would become king. This is fair, because it is in a since his destiny and if it his destiny it will eventually come full circle. But his means of becoming king were foul; he killed King Duncan to insure the prophecy will come true. I always believe that what?s yours is yours and it will come to you in due time. Macbeth will never realize this. Malcolm and Macduff kill Macbeth. Murder can be considered horrible or foul but the end result was fair. Macbeth was no longer king, a title that he wasn?t ready for.
I believe that the prophecy that Macbeth would become king would have been fulfilled in a matter of time. Just as the prophecy that he would become Thane of Cawdor came true. Macbeth just didn?t have the patience to wait and that proved he just wasn?t ready for a huge responsibility.
After killing just about everyone that could stand in his way Macbeth finally got the chance to ask the witches how did they know what he would become, (IV.1.73) but was too late. Because whatever they would disclose as the source of their knowledge couldn?t help him now. The people are already dead. This reveals the irony of it all, if they have the power to see the end result wouldn?t they know that path to take to accomplish ones fate. They could have known the entire goal that was mapped out for his life and he would have been the only one standing is his way.
Hidden behind all of the witches? double talk stands the truth. Everything that they prophesied came true but might have been brought about by different means but we?ll never know. If Macbeth listened and thought about what they were saying and not acted upon it then his outcome might not have been so tragic. Everything has its one time.