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Being and seeming:

The contrast between surface appearances and true character in Shakespeare's Macbeth

When Lady Macbeth learns that the witches have predicted that her husband Macbeth will be king she gloats and greets her husband with the words "…look like the innocent flower, / But be the serpent under't" (I.5). The fact that the three 'weird sisters' have predicted Macbeth's kingship is interpreted by Lady Macbeth as license to commit the murder of Duncan. Lady Macbeth's words indicate a contrast between 'being' and 'seeming' that runs throughout the play. Lady Macbeth urges her husband to seem as though he is loyal even while he conspires with his wife to kill the...
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