An Optical Illusion- Macbeth

According to the English Oxford Dictionary an optical illusion is: “something that deceives the eye by appearing to be other than it is”. The image I used as an example seems to be a painting of a mans head, however this is an illusion. The painting is not just a mans head. The big picture is a man and women on a prairie with two houses behind them. The women’s hat is the ear, the man is the nose, while the eyes are two houses in the background. Not everyone sees the head first like I did, some may see the man and women, but the point is people see what they want to see first. Big pictures can be hard to recognize when the brain is being tricked. This very much reminds me of Macbeth in Shakespeare’s famous play, The Tragedy of Macbeth. The true tragedy, in my opinion, is that, like this optical illusion, Macbeth was tricked into showing his true colors and he was not who he thought he was.

Vincent Van Gogh

The illusion was guided by three witches, and the first encounter was simple. They approach Macbeth with confidence saying: “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Cawdor!” Macbeth was not thane only thane of Glamis. Then the third witch says: “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!” Macbeth and Banquo, who was with Macbeth, had so many questions, but the three witches vanished. Moments later messengers from the king arrived with this message:

And, for an earnest of a greater honor,
He bade me, from him, call thee thane of Cawdor:
In which addition, hail, most worthy thane,
For it is thine.
This instantly proved that the three witches were telling the truth, and somehow they could predict
the future. Macbeth is left with so many questions and has another encounter with the witches to get
more information. But first the witches mistress becomes angry at the three witches for helping Macbeth because he has shown to be such an evil person and devises a plan to trick Macbeth:
I’ll catch it ere it come to ground.
And that distilled by magic sleights
Shall raise such artificial sprites
As by the strength of their illusion
Shall draw him on to his confusion
The witches then trick Macbeth by giving him a false sense of hope the next time they talk:
Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn
The power of man, for none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth.
This is the illusion because Malcolm, who kills Macbeth in the end, was cut out of his mothers instead of being born the traditional way. Macbeth is so into his own pride that he would not be able to figure out this riddle. Like the optical illusion, his brain is focussing on something else until he can open his eyes at the end.

Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn, and cauldron bubble"(4.1.10-11). This chant is said by all three witch… | Macbeth witches, Three witches, Witch drawing

 

It can be hard to see the big picture sometimes like when looking at an optical illusion. Macbeth only heard he would be king, but did not stop to see that big picture. The three witches never said he had to do anything to become king, he became Thane of Cowdor without killing people or taking action. He was told that no man born from a women’s womb could kill him, but heard no one could ever kill him. Macbeth only heard what he wanted to hear, his brain tricked him. He saw the head but did not step back to see the prairie.

Image Credits:

https://www.boredpanda.com/optical-illusion-paintings-oleg-shupliak/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

472385448386198873

 

 

Reply