In the play Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, Macbeth alerts the audience to the quandary of knowing one's destiny and wanting to control the future. Through the setting, plot, and characterization, Shakespeare displays the theme of foul is fair and fair is foul.
The setting helps demonstrate the theme in many ways. In act one the witches help reveal the atmosphere of the play. The witches are speaking about when to meet again, "in thunder, lighting, or in rain" which are all foul weather. The witches go on and say, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air." They are saying whatever is fair will look to Macbeth as foul and whatever is foul will look fair. Macbeth sees the witches as fair because of this and continues to see them thought the play. The witches make him see that he will become king but only if he was to kill Duncan and Banquo, because Banquo's children will become king first. .
The plot gives the theme, of foul is fair and fair is foul, more meaning. Macbeth sees murder as a dreadful thing but because of the theme of foul is fair and fair is foul Macbeth sees this as something he must do to become king and he accepts it as something he must do. Macbeth's plot to be able to kill anyone that gets in his way of becoming king fails in part because of the theme. Macbeth, knowing his future and his destiny gave him a slight edge in becoming king but did not benefit him in the long run.
Macbeth's character supports the theme of foul is fair and fair is foul. Macbeth's ambition also assists in presenting the theme. Because of Macbeth's ambition he killed Duncan because of his wanting to become king after hearing from the witches. Because of his plethora of ambition Macbeth continued to kill anyone who got in his way of being king or anyone who had any amount of knowledge of the murders or the plot. Because of his knowledge of the future and his destiny he led himself to his own destruction.