In Macbeth, Shakespeare frequently uses antithesis (opposites) in the language of the play. Often, this is linked to the idea of good vs. evil, which is central to the play. A famous example is when the witches mysteriously claim that “fair is foul, and foul is fair” (1.1.12). How can something be good and bad at the same time? The strangeness of the antithesis helps demonstrate how the witches are abnormal creatures that do not belong to the normal world.

Later, Macbeth repeats this antithetical phrase: “So foul and fair a day I have not seen.” (1.3.39). Here, the antithesis has the function of associating him with the witches as it hints that he may be capable of evil like them. His words also foreshadow his realization towards the end of ...

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