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Flashcards in Equivocation In Depth Deck (9)
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An absurd or contradictory statement that, on closer examination is actually true.


When the battles

When the battles lost and won.

Obviously if one side wins the battle, the other side has to lose. The witch who says this seems to be completely indifferent to the lives of humans. She doesn't care who wins and who loses. She also seems to be reflecting on the pointlessness of human endeavors. It also foreshadows macbeths actions, as whenever he achieves something, somebody always loses, becoming thane of Cawdor, old thane lost as he was traitor. Becoming king, Duncan lost as he died. It also might be foreshadowing his death as he wins many battles and achievements but in the end he loses his life.


Fair is foul

Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

The witches enjoy performing foul acts like deceiving Macbeth so they see these acts as fair and other people see these acts as foul. It also refers to the main theme of the play - appearance can be deceiving. Macbeth appears to be an honourable man, until he commits the foul act of betraying and murdering his King.


3 paradoxes predicted by the witches about Banquos future

Lesser than Macbeth but greater
Not so happy yet much happier
Thou shalt get kings though thou be none


Lesser than Macbeth but greater

When the witches say "Lesser than Macbeth, and greater" this implies that although Banquo is going to be less than Macbeth in titles and figures, he will always be more honourable, happier and greater in person as he wont have any guilt of murder or betrayal like Macbeth.


Not so happy yet much happier

This is spoken by the second witch who prophesizes the fact that Banquo will not be as happy as Macbeth, since he will not be the king. But simultaneously he will be much happier from another angle, since he will be the father of the future Kings and not have the guilt of murder and betrayal like Macbeth.


Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none.

This prophecy, spoken by the third witch, explains the first two prophecies will be be. Banquo will be the father of the future kings, but he himself will not become the king.


Macbeths first line in the play

Macbeth's first line in the play is "So fair and foul a day I have not seen". Macbeth states that it is 'foul' because of the many who have lost their live in battle, but 'fair because he was a strong leader and was victorious. He is connected to the supernatural elements, and we know that his fate will "foul and fair".


And oftentimes

And oftentimes, to win us to harm, the instruments of darkness tells us truths, win us with honest trifles, to betray's in deepest consequences.