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MACBETH: The reversal of nature / disruption of the chain of

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Winnie Panczel

on 9 February 2015

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Transcript of MACBETH: The reversal of nature / disruption of the chain of

The Reversal of Nature / Disruption of the Chain of Being
In Shakespeare's 'Macbeth', one of the many topics explored is the reversal of nature. In the Shakespeare era and even now days, many believe that everything happens for a reason, and if the chain of order of events happens to be changed, things will be disrupted and become problematic.
Nature and Storms
Before discovering Duncan’s murder Lennox and Macduff talk about how stormy the night and that they had never seen weather like that before in their lives.

It is said that if the king is good, everything else is also. However, as Macbeth became king through multiple murders, things start becoming out of order, and not the way they were intended to be. The best example of this was when the horses began to become mad, and start eating each other.

"ROSS: And Duncan's horses… turn’d wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make war with mankind.

OLD MAN: 'Tis said they eat each other.

ROSS: They did so, to the amazement of mine eyes
That look'd upon’t." - Act 2, Scene 4

The Owl
In Greek culture, the owl is a symbolism of wisdom and it has a similar meaning in the play. After King Duncan is killed Lady Macbeth cries

“It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman,”

By showing that an owl, the symbol of wisdom, is upset by Macbeth killing Duncan, Shakespeare implies that Macbeth has disrupted that natural order of the world.

The owl appears again when the Old Man says

“A falcon, towering in her pride of place,was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill’d.” Act II Scene 4

This symbolises a more powerful being such as a falcon or King Duncan being overpowered by a lesser animal such as an owl or Macbeth. So Macbeth’s disruption of the social hierarchy is compared to the one of the animal kingdom.

MACBETH: The reversal of nature / disruption of the chain of being
By Winnie and Christine
“… the earth was feverous and did shake” - Lennox, Act II Scene 3

The stormy, dark weather that arises when Macbeth kills Duncan and takes the throne demonstrates to readers that the balance of nature has been ruined.
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