Human Nature and Blatant Human Intricacies in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

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Blatant human intricacies and sanctity’s natural processes coexist to serve as the primary driving force behind the storied societal stances taken in William Shakespeare’s Renaissance piece, Macbeth. Apart from its glaring positions on issues such as the corruptibility of men and human susceptibility to temptation, Macbeth‘s central focus embraces a much larger, ever-present issue: The existence of universal balance and the natural cycles that serve to maintain that balance, 50, ultimately while many minor characters in the play serve as foils to Lord Macbeth and his various flaws, there is no specific character that understands, embodies, and rejects each of these flaws as powerfully as Macbeth succumbs to them. However, Shakespeare’s careful, detailed, and recurring personification of nature throughout the play suggests that – albeit not an actual character – Macbeth’s greatest foil is in fact, nature itself.

So, the presence of nature as an informal character in Macbeth both serves as the force that stabilizes Scotland under Macbeth’s infamous reign and suggests the plays ultimate theme that no matter how daunting or ravaged a situation, nature will always find a way to restore order and balance to it The most efficient way to help someone deal with a problem is to put oneself in that person’s shoes and experience the same pain that they do There is no grander example of this method of ultimate-understanding than the way that nature mirrors the state of Scotland over the course of Macbeth’s plot. It is no coincidence that the play is introduced in the midst of “Thunder and Lightning” Shakespeare begins his play with a storm not to suggest that any events prior to the witches’ meeting have triggered eerie weather, but instead to foreshadow evil and to suggest that the tragic play will live up to its genre’s name.

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However, it is not until Macbeth actually upsets universal balance by murdering King Duncan that nature’s wrath becomes specific to Macbetht For instance, precisely after Macbeth solidifies his existence as an evil character by committing King Duncan’s murder – the ultimate form of treason — Ross suggests that the sky has remained dark for an unnatural period of time by claiming that the “dark knight strangles the traveling lamp” . At this specific point, the only thing other than Macbeth and Lady Macbeth that is aware of the act that Macbeth committed the previous night is nature. So, like Macbeth, nature then falls into darkness and disorder. This anarchy to which nature has fallen is also exemplified by the several other strange occurrences described by the old man in the fourth scene of Act Two. The old man describes a falcon being “hawked at and killed” by an owl before claiming that King Duncan‘s horses “eat each other”.

These occurrences serve to suggest the major shift that nature takes is simultaneous with Macbeth’s. So, in essence, nature is beginning its own demise just as Macbeth begins his However, what makes nature a foil of Macbeth is notjust the fact that it deteriorates just as he does; the difference between the two is that unlike Macbeth, nature found a way to recuperate Ultimately, nature, in its most primitive form can be described as a series of cycles, Some such examples include the cycle of seasons, day and night, and even habitual cycles within the animal kingdom, However despite the broadness with which nature’s knack for cycles extends, the one recurring principle in each example is the idea that no matter how odd certain circumstances might become at some point, they are always bound by the principle of a cycle to return to their normal stage.

It is for this very reason that the natural proprietor of Macbeth’s downfall is in fact the forest known as Birnam Wood. Because Macbeth was actually in essence defeated by nature, Shakespeare is indirectly arguing that although nature did succumb to an odd circumstance, it maintained its cycle and restored its own balance. So, because nature followed Macbeth towards the pit of their respective existences, only to leave him there and return back to idealness when Malcolm takes the throne, nature is the perfect foil of Macbeth In Macbeth nature can be interpreted to figuratively have experienced the same great demise that Macbeth did except it actually managed to find a way to recapture its balance.

Ultimately, because nature is the only being that can legitimately claim to have experienced the same collapse that Macbeth did, nature is the only character that can claim to have understood what Macbeth was going through as his mind deteriorated after Duncan’s murder. However, because after both understanding and embodying Macbeth‘s exact same dissolution of mind, nature does decide to reject the same everlasting evil that Macbeth chose to embrace, nature is the only foil in the play that can accurately challenge the entirety of Macbeth‘s flaws as a leader. Therefore, Shakespeare‘s most powerful message in Macbeth is actually the idea that because everything exists in a cycle there is always light at the end of every tunnel so after waiting long enough, things begin to revert to their old ways and thus fix themselves.

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Human Nature and Blatant Human Intricacies in Macbeth by William Shakespeare. (2023, May 19). Retrieved from

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