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Macbeth: Natural vs. Unnatural

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Macbeth: Natural vs. Unnatural

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  • April 2001
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In different periods of time, the lives of humans and nature were thought to have a connection, and this is emphasized in William Shakespeare's play MacBeth. In this play, unnatural events in nature foreshadow bad or unnatural occurrences in the lives of humans. Through out the play, Shakespeare continuously proves this point.

When Ross said "As sparrows eagles or the hare the lion" (I.ii.35), it proves this theory. Common knowledge says that sparrows do not classify as eagles does a hare classify as a lion. They may have similarities, such as they are both birds or mammals, but they are opposites. After the quote is spoken, Ross reveals that the Thane of Cawdor has betrayed his country and Macbeth shall take his place. Macbeth becoming the Thane of Cawdor was an unusual event and not expected.

When Macbeth finds the dagger in front of him, it alludes to this point even more. The foreshadowing of Macbeth's choice becomes evident when he says, "Nature seems dead" (II.i.50) For nature to seem dead would be the complete opposite of living because nature is thought to be continuously growing and changing, not dying. This is an unnatural event, that again foreshadows something bad, which is Duncan's death. Other unnatural occurrences happened prior to Duncan's death but were not explained until afterwards. When the old man says "'Tis unnatural / Even like the deed that's done. On Tuesday last A falcon tow'ring in her pride of place, was by a mousing hawk killed" (II.iv.10-13), it also proves the connection between unnatural events and humans. An owl tends to eat mice and hunt at night, a hawk is not it's usual meal. This strange event occurred prior to Duncan's death, which told of things to come. Another quote spoken by Ross, also foreshadows Duncan's death: "And Duncan's horses…. turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, Contending 'gainst obedience, as they would make way with man kind" And the old man responded with "'Tis said they...

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