The Breakdown and Restoration of Order in Macbeth Essay

The Breakdown and Restoration of Order in Macbeth Essay

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The Breakdown and Restoration of Order in Macbeth

    When Macbeth kills King Duncan in William Shakespeare's tragedy Macbeth, there is a breakdown of order throughout Scotland. This breakdown is evident through three main factors; within the person, mainly through Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, through the kingdom and through nature. From a completely ordered nation into the depths of chaos - Scotland collapsed from the lack of strong leadership. In the end, when resolution is reached, this chaos is reversed and Scotland is restored to a peaceful nation as it was before Macbeth's reign.


Traditional Elizabethan ideologies were based on the great "Chain of Being". The people believed in an absolutely ordered universe were ranked in order of their superiority. This order corresponded with all religious beliefs and the political system. General beings were ranked in the order of: God, angels, king, man, animals, plants, inorganic material and finally chaos. When Macbeth murders Duncan, he violates this order. The king was seen to be God's representative on earth and if any rebel was to attack the king, he was seen as rebelling against or attacking God. There was a belief that God passed special powers on to all kings, as seen in Act four Scene three "he cures... the healing benediction... he hath a heavenly gift of prophecy" (lines 168-173). Macbeth does not have this divinity, as he is not the rightful king. This is one of the reasons that Scotland turns to chaos.


The evidence that the audience receives about a breakdown within a person is within Macbeth himself. After murdering Duncan, he begins to go crazy - his mind and his thoughts begin to rule him. He becomes very domineering. Macbeth...

... middle of paper ...

...r breaks down the murderer, breaks down the kingdom and breaks down nature, to have Scotland in complete fear and terror. But, good wins over evil and in the end, peace is restored. The coronation of a divine king brings peace and restoration to previous chaos.


Works Cited and Consulted:


Bradley, A.C. Shakespearean Tragedy. Toronto: Penguin Books Canada Ltd., 1991.


Campbell, Lily B. Shakespeare's Tragic Heroes, Slaves of Passion. Gloucester: Peter Smith Publisher Inc., 1973.  


Edwards, Terence. Twentieth Century Interpretations of Macbeth. New Jersey: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1977.


Shakespeare, William.  Tragedy of Macbeth . Ed. Barbara Mowat and Paul Warstine. New York: Washington Press, 1992.   


Scott, Mark W. (Editor).  Shakespeare for Students.  Gale Research Inc. Detroit, Michigan. 1992



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