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Home > English > Macbeth > Blank verse and rhyme, dramatic irony and imagery

English

Blank verse and rhyme, dramatic irony and imagery

Ambiguities

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair" (Act 1, scene 1, line 11)

We know the witches are in the middle of a storm and perhaps they are saying that they like this; they are witches so they enjoy bad things and are on the side of evil. However, they could also be saying that what we think looks attractive (or 'fair') is actually bad (or 'foul'). In other words, our ambitions can be our downfall. Or they could be warning us of things to come in the play – Macbeth is tempted by their predictions and enters a confused, unnatural world, where he cannot trust what he sees and cannot bear what he is.

Perhaps now we can appreciate Shakespeare's skill as a writer - many of his characters say things which are ambiguous. This means that you can interpret them in different ways, so the witches might be talking about the weather, or they might mean something completely different. Another example of ambiguity is when Lady Macbeth says the daggers 'must lie there' (Act 2, scene 2, line 46) - she could mean the daggers must be placed there, but also that the daggers will hide the truth and pin the blame on the servants.

Watch

A mock Shakespeare TV interview.

Class Clips

Video clip of a TV interview with Shakespeare, including a rock music video of Sonnet 18

Watch

Scene from Macbeth.

Class Clips

Macbeth - Act 1, Scenes 1 and 3

Watch

Scene from Macbeth.

Class Clips

Macbeth - Act 5, Scene 1

 

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