Macbeth, The Natural, Unnatural, And Supernatural Essay

Macbeth, The Natural, Unnatural, And Supernatural Essay

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In William Shakespeare 's Macbeth, there are many representations of the natural, unnatural, and supernatural. Therefore, Macbeth can be seen as a play that presents a depiction of nature through emphasizing breaches of it. Throughout the play, the notion of time becomes inextricably intertwined with the idea of all that is natural; Macbeth 's struggle against the natural order is manifested in his attempt to transcend time. Another manifestation of this struggle lies in Macbeth 's attempt to become more masculine by subduing his feelings. Through an examination of Lady Macbeth 's line, "Yet I do fear thy nature; / It is too full o’th’ milk of human kindness / To catch the nearest way" (Macbeth 1.5.14-16), we can find a connection between time, gender, and human nature. Macbeth attempts to speed up time by subduing his feelings and becoming more masculine. However, by suppressing his emotions, he is actually distorting his own human nature, because emotions are an integral part of humanity and not merely a weak, feminine characteristic. This relationship between time and gender bridges the gap between the external and internal manifestations of Macbeth 's struggle against nature, showing us how Macbeth 's suppression of his thoughts and feelings ends ultimately in Macbeth 's own moral and psychological degradation. By examining the relationship between time and gender through the lens of Macbeth 's opposition to nature, we can see how the play offers a more comprehensive and balanced view of manhood that encompasses thinking, feeling, and acting.
In attempting to force the fulfillment of the witches ' prophecy, the Macbeths blur the lines between present and future. Lady Macbeth says, "I feel now / The future in the instant" (1.6...


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..., Macbeth muses, "My thought whose murder yet is but fantastical, / Shakes so my single state of man / That function is smothered in surmise" (1.3.141-3). Emotions are not the only things preventing action; Macbeth 's ability to act is impeded by his thoughts ("function is smothered in surmise"). In fact, these thoughts disrupt Macbeth 's manhood; he says, "My thought...shakes so my single state of man." Interestingly, Macbeth echoes Lady Macbeth here. If we juxtapose their phrases, "shake my fell purpose" and "shakes so my single state of man,” not only do we see a strengthening of this relationship between thought and feelings standing in the way of action, but also a connection between "purpose" or the conviction to act, and manhood. Thus, the Macbeths associate femininity with emotions and inaction, and masculinity with action, but a lack of thought and emotions.

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