The world is governed more by appearances than by realities. Throughout society people are judged based on their appearance. This is unfortunate because appearance can be deceiving. In William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth appearances are not what they seem. Some people may change because they think that their true self does not fit in society while others pretend to be something they are not. In the theme of appearance versus reality Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have an image but as the time passes by their true personalities began to show. Macbeth portrays himself differently from his true inner self.
He pretends to be a strong and intelligent person but from inside he is weak and indecisive. When Macbeth first confronts the witches’ prophecies he says, “Come what may, time and the hour runs through the roughest day” (1. 3. 152-153). Macbeth is leaving his future to ‘chance’. He wants to appear noble and strong but in the end he refutes his statement by killing Duncan and Banquo to get to the throne. Also, when Lady Macbeth explains the plan to Macbeth he asks “If we should fail? ” (1. 7. 59). He is still afraid of the consequences of his actions. His actions look pungent but he does not have any reason to kill Duncan.
Macbeth has a debate within himself to murder King Duncan or to spare his life. Macbeth hesitation to kill Duncan proves in realty he is a weak man. Lady Macbeth represents herself as a beautiful and powerful woman in society but she is as weak as her husband Macbeth. To convince Macbeth to follow the plan she says “I have given suck, and know how tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me. I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed the brains out, had I so sworn” (1. 7. 54-58). Macbeth asks for her help, but she responds by being harsh to him to keep up her appearances.
Even when Macbeth sees Banquo’s ghost, instead of helping him, she tells him to go to bed and stop imagining weird things. Lady Macbeth appears heartless toward others. However, one night a gentlewomen and a doctor see her sleep waking and mumbling “Out, damned spot! Out, I say! ” (5. 1. 25). She appears to be wide awake but she is unconsciously revealing her true self. Her guilty conscious leads to her downfall through suicide. In this scene her appearance crumbles. She seemed powerful and unsympathetic, but in reality her guilt of Duncan’s murder driver her crazy proving she has become weak.
In Macbeth the theme of appearance versus reality is shown through the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. They both revealed a fictitious picture of their personality even though on the inside they are different people. Macbeth’s indecisive personality leads to his destruction. The iron lady, Lady Macbeth appears to be a tough woman, who feels no guilt. But in the ending she shatters to pieces because of her guilt-ridden conscious. No matter what one appears to be reality will defeat appearance. People can put disguise on reality for time being but in the end truth reveals itself.