The Theme of Nature in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The Theme of Nature in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Length: 493 words (1.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
The Theme of Nature in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

Macbeth, and all of William Shakespeare's other works include several universal themes. Shakespeare incorporates these themes into his works to emphasize meanings and points. Several times in Macbeth nature is out of order which coincides with unpleasant events occurring. This happens many times in Macbeth. Shakespeare demonstrates this using setting, characters, and dialog.
One of the major ways Shakespeare shows disturbances in nature is use of setting. "Thunder and Lightning." (Shakespeare 1) This is how Shakespeare describes the setting before the play begins. The thunder and lightning are disturbances in nature and a great day is not filled with thunder and lightning (Ravi 1). The three Weird Sisters enter in the midst of all the thunder and lightning. Their appearance could be considered an unpleasant event because whenever the Weird Sisters appear bad things happen. "When shall we three meet again / In thunder, lightning, or in rain" (Shakespeare 2). This tells the reader that the witches' meeting with Macbeth

will be filled with thunder, lightning, and rain. A meeting like that is very foreboding (Ravi 1).
Another method Shakespeare uses to develop the theme is the characters' dialog with other characters. "On Tuesday last, / A falcon, towering in her pride of place, / Was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd," (Shakespeare 9) said the Old Man to Ross. The falcon was high in the sky and an owl, who usually stays low to the ground to hunt mice went up to the falcon and killed it (clicknotes 3). This occurred shortly before Macbeth murdered King Duncan. The night Macbeth murders Duncan his best horses eat each other (Shakespeare 9). MacDuff comes in with the verdict that the king's sons bribed the servants to kill Duncan and Ross says "Gainst nature still!" (Shakespeare 10) He is saying that it is just as unlikely that an owl killed a hawk and horses ate each other, that Duncan's sons had him murdered (clicknotes 3).
Yet another way Shakespeare conveys the theme is through the use of characters. "What are these / So wither'd and so wild in their attire, / That look not like the inhabitant's o' the earth, / And yet are on't." (Shakespeare 6) This is Banquo describing the Three

Witches. The Weird Sisters are disturbances in nature.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"The Theme of Nature in Macbeth by William Shakespeare." 17 Oct 2019

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Macbeth as the Frailty of Human Nature in William Shakespeare's Play Essay

- Macbeth as the Frailty of Human Nature in William Shakespeare's Play Story line: Macbeth, the main character is a brave and victorious general. he plays a key role in defeating a couple of invading armies; He is to be rewarded for this. However three witches meet him and make prophecies regarding him.: He will become thane of Cawdor and later king. Macbeth sees how the first prophecy of becoming thane becomes true, so encouraged by his wife he sets out to make the second part of the prophecy come true....   [tags: Papers]

Free Essays
925 words (2.6 pages)

William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

- The true nature of human beings is thought to be many different things. Perhaps they truly are peaceful and genuine or maybe humans are actually mean and deceitful. William Shakespeare tries to show the true nature of man by using the play Macbeth. The main character, Macbeth, has revealed through his actions and decisions the true nature of human beings. Macbeth is portrayed as ruthless, audacious, and sometimes distrustful. His true characteristics change throughout the play depending on what was going on around him....   [tags: human nature, play analysis]

Research Papers
1346 words (3.8 pages)

Essay on Recurring Images in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

- Macbeth has many important recurring images, like/such as weather, blood, and sleep that/which help give the reader a more vivid picture of what is taking place. Nature is used as an auxiliary image in Macbeth to create atmosphere and to foreshadow upcoming events. The play begins with thunder and lightning as the three witches meet. This creates a dark and gloomy environment for the remainder of the story. (fragment/run on?) The drama continues as Ross exclaims, “By th' clock ’tis day, / And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp....   [tags: guilt, nature, sleep]

Research Papers
517 words (1.5 pages)

Macbeth, By William Shakespeare Essay

- William Shakespeare once said “The evil that men do lives after them, the good is oft interred with their bones.” In other words the men who commit a sin has to live with the consequences and guilt. If any person commits a sin, there is always the feeling of guilt, if we ignore our guilt it can lead to a destruction of our conscience. In the play Macbeth a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. Set mainly in Scotland, the play dramatises the damaging physical and psychological effects of political ambition on those who seek power for its own sake....   [tags: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Macbeth]

Research Papers
1865 words (5.3 pages)

The Tragedy Of Macbeth By William Shakespeare Essay example

- Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland inspires the well-known playwright of the 16th and 17th centuries, William Shakespeare to construct the masterpiece, The Tragedy of Macbeth. He presents ideas and subjects pleasing to King James I of England at Hampton Court. Shakespeare uses blank verse in this play to tell the story of a tragic hero who suffers a great downfall after the three witches prophesy him to become king. The witch’s deception with their lines “fair is foul and foul is fair” introduces confusion to play goers from the beginning (I.1.12)....   [tags: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Banquo]

Research Papers
1009 words (2.9 pages)

Essay on William Shakespeare 's ' Macbeth '

- Choose a play in which a central character is slow to understand fully the seriousness of his or her situation. Explain how this situation has developed and discuss how the character’s behaviour influences your overall assessment of him or her. ‘Macbeth’ is a tragedy written by the English playwright, William Shakespeare and includes a central character that is slow to understand fully the seriousness of her situation. Lady Macbeth is the ambitious and amoral wife of Macbeth, who encourages, and aids him in committing regicide and as a result loses everything she had....   [tags: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Emotion]

Research Papers
1444 words (4.1 pages)

Macbeth, By William Shakespeare Essay

- Madeleine L’Engle once said, “Because to take away a man’s freedom of choice, even his freedom to make the wrong choice, is to manipulate him as though he were a puppet and not a person”. By not allowing someone to make their own decisions, right or wrong, you are taking away their freedom to understand the evolution of their thoughts and desires. Manipulation, as Madeleine L’Engle stated so eloquently, is a way to treat others as puppets and not as a person with the right to make their own choices in life....   [tags: Macbeth, Duncan I of Scotland, Macbeth, Macbeth]

Research Papers
1547 words (4.4 pages)

Essay on Macbeth, By William Shakespeare

- Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Good morning ladies and gentlemen, I am the Second Witch from the play, Macbeth and my job is to identify and analyse how I have represented power in Macbeth. Macbeth is an English play published in 1606 by William Shakespeare during the reign of James I. It is based on the concept of the impure thirst for political and social power during the 17th century (Colonial Period). William Shakespeare’s intent of Macbeth is to exaggerate and influence the reader of the damaging physical and psychological effects of the desire for power....   [tags: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Supernatural]

Research Papers
1484 words (4.2 pages)

Essay about Macbeth, By William Shakespeare

- In the renaissance era, the existence of witches is acknowledged and feared by most. Commonly recognized as evil beings, they administer prophecies to manipulate man and cause chaos. This type of predicament is exhibited in William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth. Shakespeare depicts the magnitude of power in the witches’ prophecy and its effects on various characters by challenging their moral outlook, intensifying ambitions and triggering a loss of self-control. The three weird women hold power over Banquo as the prophecy caused discrepancies with his moral compass....   [tags: Macbeth, Morality, Macbeth, William Shakespeare]

Research Papers
1114 words (3.2 pages)

Macbeth, By William Shakespeare Essay

- Although a combination of external forces and Macbeth’s own vaulting ambition doom the tragic hero (Macbeth) and result in his downfall, he is also doomed because of his own actions. This is because the tragic hero chooses to commit certain actions of his own free will which create a trail of destruction which leads to his eventual downfall. This may be seen in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth where the protagonist, a well-respected nobleman allows his ambition to cloud his better judgement. This causes him to listen to misleading advice which eventually causes him to commit many crimes which plunge his kingdom into chaos leading to his eventual demise....   [tags: Macbeth, William Shakespeare]

Research Papers
1073 words (3.1 pages)

They have beards like men, but are supposed to be women. Whenever the Weird Sisters appear nothing good happens (clicknotes 1).
"Stop up the access and passage to remorse, / That no compunctious visitings of nature / Shake my fell purpose, nor keep peace between / The effect and it! Come to my woman's breasts, / And take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers, / Wherever in sightless substances / You wait on nature's mischief!"

Lady Macbeth is trying to get nature out of order so that she will have what is necessary when it is time to kill Duncan.
In Conclusion, Shakespeare uses many different ways to communicate a theme to the reader. He makes use of setting several times in Macbeth. Shakespeare also uses dialog and characters to convey the theme of nature throughout Macbeth. Shakespeare uses all three ways expertly to emphasize the theme that when nature is out of order, it causes bad events to occur.


Works Cited

"Macbeth Navigator: Themes: Nature and Unnatural." Online.
Internet. 3 October, 2000. Available WWW:

"Major Themes in Macbeth." Online. Internet. 3 October,
2000. Available WWW:

Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. The Language of Literature.
Eds. Arthur N. Applebee, et al. Evanston, Illinois : McDougal Littel, 2000. 327-416
Return to