“Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air,” said the witches in the first act and scene of Macbeth. Pertaining to the story, I believe this quote sheds light to the audience on the evil the witches possess. Without even reading further into the book, the audience can feel the eerie aura that the witches give off. You can foreshadow that the witches are going to turn what is good, foul and maintain what is foul. The witches are saying that fair and foul are the same: to be fair, you must be foul and to be foul, you must be fair. The witches do foul things because they think it is the only fair way. The witches basically symbolize everything that the kingdom does not need to prosper. The witches are manipulative. They manipulate Macbeth simply because his downfall would bring them joy.
Evil and foul prophecies will cloud Macbeth’s judgment, making him think that they are fair and what he needs to follow. They are foul in their motives but their words are fair and their wordplay cannot be defined as lying but they skillfully dance around the truth. To the witches foul is fair and vice versa. You can also say that what is foul to any normal human is what is fair and good to the witches because they embody everything that we believe is evil. You can relate the phrase to reality or just believe that this is the witches’ opinion. Relating to real life outside of the book, I believe that this quote can mean that sometimes do be fair and just you have to go about it in a way that isn’t fair and just. Justice has to be attained, sometimes, by unjust means. It can also mean that the truth hurts and life is not fair, also to be fair is not to be appealing.
These two words are opposite of their meanings. Depending on a person’s definition of fair and foul, it can change its meaning. It is circumstantial, and the meaning can change frequently. Defining fair as benevolent and good and foul as evil and menacing, you can say that to be good, you have to be malicious and to malicious you have to go about it in a ‘good’ and nice way. Some things that are fair might not always be the best but things that are fair might always be what a person what a person wants. Also, it could mean that people and things aren’t as they seem. People who seem foul could be fair and people who seem fair could be foul.
Courtney from Study Moose
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