Fair Is Foul And Foul Is Fair In Macbeth And Lord Of The Flies

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

Life is really hard when fear controls a human being. Fear is very consuming to one’s self. Jack Merridew from Lord of the Flies and Macbeth from Macbeth both entered lives that tests their ego and their mental capabilities. “Fair is foul and foul is fair” means that appearances can be deceiving: which means “fair” and good is actually “foul” and evil. They both choose to live a life that will mostly harm themselves not only physically but also mentally. Jack Merridew and Macbeth both have fears that affect their own ego and personality by being deceptive and hiding their true selves.

Fear in losing power

Both characters have a strong desire for power. In the beginning, they both appear to be shy and timid. Jack has a temper that is characterized by a strong will and desire for power, which represents a primitive instinct. He is selfish and cruel, resorting to violence on the way to achieve the purpose. He comes to a real rage after losing an election, fighting against the status of a performer in the crew. His boldness and savagery find his followers who respect the hardness of nature. Jack is one of the characters that is most influenced by fear. During an encounter with a pig, he refuses to stab it because of the rejection of murder. After the time, Jack becomes a fan of a bloody hunt, exposing his hobby with the corresponding drawings on his face. He resembles a primitive savage, who relies only on physical strength and dexterity. The increased level of cruelty facilitates control over the rest of the group. The three witches told Macbeth that one day he will be king. “Fair is foul, foul is fair” (Shakespeare 1.1.11). The message of the three witches is fair to Macbeth, but foul to Banquo. Although he is told that his sons would be kings, Banquo is able to see through the witches’ enticing lies and warns Macbeth to be careful with the words he has just heard: “And oftentimes, to win us to our harm,/The instruments of darkness tell us truths,/ Win us with honest trifle, to betray’s/ In deepest consequences.” (Shakespeare 1.3.123-126). Banquo’s warnings do not do much to dissuade Macbeth from pursuing such a dark path. Macbeth and his wife are the ones who fear the most. Macbeth fears on having to kill Duncan, as well as the following consequences. “I am afraid to think what I have done” (Shakespeare 2.2.66). He fears on losing his wealth and status. Although he starts out as a good person, Macbeth’s morality is easily converted by the three witches. The same happens for Lady Macbeth, who becomes exceedingly ambitious after she learns of the witches’ prophecy from her husband’s letter. She tells her husband to “Look like the innocent flower,/ But be the serpent under’t” (Shakespeare 1.5.64-65). Jack uses a red, white, and green paint in order to make him look more dangerous as ever. The red, green, and whitenpaint makes him look like a fly. Macbeth consults the prophecies of the witches, where he is fed with more foolishness. He is told by the second apparition (a bloody child) and the third apparition (a child wearing a crown and holding a branch in his hand) that “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” (Shakespeare 4.1.80), and that he “shall never be vanquish’d be until/ Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill/ Shall come against him” (Shakespeare 4.1.92-94). Macbeth is made to believe that he is invincible by the witches and becomes blind to the imminent danger that befalls him. In the end, he is defeated by humans, contrary to what the witches claimed.

Fear in their tribes

Jack has a fear of losing control over the boys on the island. Jack sees how the boys are slowly leaving him for Ralph. Jack uses fear to control the boys in the tribe by application of his menacing personality. The boys are afraid of Jack because of what he can do to them. One could say that Jack has a demon inside of him or a dark passenger and if its needs are not fulfilled it unleashes its fury on everyone around him. The boys find hunting a fun adventure but for Jack, it is a ritual. This ritual extends out of hunting in the form of the dance, that substitutes out pigs for real people. The fear holds the boys in place because if they fall out of line or defy Jack they could find themselves in the center of the dance next. But the hand of Jack’s demon extends to all the boys, and Jack’s mentality of violence is what fuels their fear. In Macbeth’s case, he proves to be fearful of many characters in the play. Macbeth does not understand the witches’ prophecy and witchcraft, and fears it will come true. Banquo asks him, “Good sir, why do you start and seem to fear/ Things that do sound so fair?” (Shakespeare 1.3.51-52). He fears that others will learn of his sinful thoughts. Macbeth continues with a series of foul play to ensure that he has a stronghold grip on the throne. At the banquet for the nobles of Scotland, Macbeth fools everyone that he has high regards for Banquo when he has just ordered the murderers to kill him. He says, “I drink to the general joy o’ the whole table,/ And to our dear friend Banquo, whom we miss” (Shakespeare 3.4.89-90). After the murders of King Duncan and Banquo, he turns to MacDuff and his family, where MacDuff is able to escape but not his family. Macbeth starts out fair, but ends up a foul person: “I have walked so far into this river of blood that even if I stopped now, it would be as hard to go back as it is to killing people” (Shakespeare 3.4.

Fear in the beast

Because of Jack’s fear of losing control over the boys on the island, he uses fear as a means of control which is the beast. He scares the boys with a mystical and bloodthirsty beast and frames Ralph as he has no plans to deal with the mysterious beast. This idea of a beast on the island was thought up by a little one, but Jack harnessed the boy’s instinctive fear of it for his advantage. The offerings, the spears, and the face painting were all designed to empower the boys and give them a sense of protection. For example, face painting being a near pointless practice besides for camouflage, but because Jack did it first and gave everyone the idea that they could be a bunch of tribal savages and their behavior eventually mirrored that. It also made them become something they’re not, and that they can fight fear by being feared themselves. “‘Fancy thinking the beast was something you could hunt and kill!’ said the lord of the flies” (Golding 158). The beast is within all of them and it radiated from the fear Jack created. Unlike Jack, Macbeth also has beast, but the beast is the one haunting him. After he killed Duncan, he mentions “…’Sleep no more!/ Macbeth does murder sleep’- the innocent sleep,” (Shakespeare 2.2.35-36). He means that he can no longer sleep because the guilt is already inside him and it will haunt him for life. Even though Lady Macbeth tells him to just wash away the blood from his hands, the guilt is still in his hands.  


Read more