Theme Of Foils In Macbeth

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Dakotah Guzman Mr. John Blaszczak English IV: British Literature 1st Period December 2, 2014 Macbeth Motif: Final Foils as a motif in The Tragedy of Macbeth A foil, according to our textbook, is defined as “a minor character whose attitudes, beliefs, and behavior differ significantly from those of a main character.” (Glencoe Literature British Literature 319). The motive of a foil in a book is to bring attention to the imperfections of a main character and present an idea of the main character had they not had any of these flaws. Throughout William Shakespeare’s well-known tragic play, The Tragedy of Macbeth, the main character Macbeth was presented with many contrasting minor characters that serve the play as his foils. All but very few characters…show more content…
Macbeth is effortlessly susceptible to evil where Banquo takes a more cautious approach to almost everything that he encounters and ponders about what may come next. Banquo plays it safe and never is hasty when it comes to making decisions while Macbeth is quick to act and believes everything that he is told; “Shakespeare's Banquo is the antithesis of Macbeth -- his pure, moral character foil. Banquo has no 'vaulting ambition' and thus can easily escape the trap of the Witches' prophesies.” (Mabillard, “Introduction to the Characters in Macbeth”). Banquo stays untainted by the witches prophesy while Macbeth allows and calls upon evil spirits to help him on his malevolent pursuit. Banquo, in act two scene one tells his son, Fleance, to take both his dagger and sword, “Hold, take my sword. There’s husbandry in heaven. / Their candles are all out. Take thee that too,” because Banquo has been having dreams of taking matters into his own hands and claiming the throne for his sons and he was moral enough to resist temptation unlike Macbeth. (2.1.4-5). Banquo, although experiencing the same things as Macbeth and generally possessing the same characteristics of Macbeth has more control and restriction on his mind and actions than Macbeth does. Macbeth, being Banquo’s friend, eventually sees him as a threat to his mission and kills him off.…show more content…
Thus, Macbeth conflicts with Duncan, Banquo, Lennox, Macduff, Ross, Mentieth, Simward, and all noble Scotsmen. Of course, Malcolm III must be included in this list, and even the three sisters whom Macbeth encounters in Act I since they make predictions that work against Macbeth.” (ENotes, “Homework Help”). As previously stated, most if not all characters present a kind of contrast towards Macbeth; all the characteristics of the minor characters highlight the flaws in the type of person Macbeth is. Duncan is a foil because of his role as king, the role that Macbeth desired and sought after. Lennox, Ross, Mentieth, Simward and the nobles are foils because they are forces that worked and conspired against him. Even Lady Macbeth and Lady Macduff oppose and present foils because of Lady Macbeth’s actions, although the same as Macbeth, happen at different times in the play and Lady Macduff being a nurturing and kindhearted woman directly opposes Macbeth while also opposing Lady Macbeth acting as a foil to her as well. Virtually anyone or anything that opposed Macbeth in anyway served as a foil in this
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