Macbeth: Contrasts Of Nature Essay

This essay has a total of 1004 words and 4 pages.

Macbeth: Contrasts Of Nature

Macbeth: Contrasts of Nature

Georganne Hampton


In the play, Macbeth, Shakespeare uses contrasts of nature in various
ways. He consistently shows us that Macbeth and his wife's actions go against
nature.
The first lines of the play are a condensed version of the unnaturalness
of things to come. "In thunder, lightning or in rain?" ( I, i, 2). In nature,
thunder, lightening and rain occur together, but Shakespeare's use of the word
"or" infers the unnatural occurrence of one without the others. "When battles
lost and won" ( I, i, 4), is also not a natural occurrence. Battles are either
lost or won. Shakespeare is implying the future opposites of nature in the
forthcoming play. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" (I, i, 11), further shows
the use of inversions and paradoxs in nature that Shakespeare will use
throughout the play.
One of the main controversies of nature for the reader is that in spite
of Macbeth's evil deeds, we still find him likeable. We see him in the same way
that the King does when he welcomes him by saying, "O valiant cousin! Worthy
gentleman" (I, ii, 24). We perceive him as valiant, because he is afraid of
sacrificing his humanity. "My thought, whose murder yet is but fantasticle. /
Shakes so my single state of man that function / Is smothered in surmise and
nothing is / But what is not" (I, iii, 139-41). Macbeth has doubts about the
predictions of the witches. He knows that it could be a trick and his
misgivings make him seem to be a better person.
Another thing that makes Macbeth likeable to the reader is the contrast
with his wife. It is clear from her beginning that she is evil. She has
reservations about Macbeth not being evil enough. "Yet do I fear thy nature" (I,
V, 14). She fears he is too good to do the kind of evil deeds that she is
planning.
After Macbeth murders the King, he realizes the extent of evil that he
has committed, but also realizes that the deed is done and there is nothing that
he can do to rectify it. "As they had seen me with these hangman's hands /
List'ning their fear. I could not say ‘Amen!' / When they did say ‘God bless
us!'" (II, ii, 27-29). The fact that Macbeth is very troubled, and continues
his tirade, "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood / Clean from my
hand? No, this my hand will rather / the multitudinous seas incarnadine, /
Making the green one red" (II, ii, 59-62), evokes compassion for him from the
reader. He seems more human, especially when compared to his wife. "Retire we
to our chamber. / A little water clears us of this deed. / How easy it is then!"
( II, ii, 65- 67). Her nonchalance over the matter shows her unnaturalness
and magnifies the contrast between Macbeth and herself.
Continues for 2 more pages >>