Essay on The Theme of Birds in Macbeth

826 Words 4 Pages
Macbeth is a tragic play written by William Shakespeare which deals about the consequences of excessive greed. Shakespeare also uses an abundance of literary devices especially nature and animal imageries. These imageries are used to represent the disturbance in the Great Chain1 which is shown through the murder of King Duncan which destroys the natural order of things especially in the succession to the throne. The birds play the critical role of conveying this idea through foreshadowing and characterization.2 The first function of the bird as a thematic image is to foreshadow. And the most important foreshadowing of the play is the inevitable murder of the King of Scotland, Duncan, by the Macbeth. It is first seen during the Captain’s …show more content…
While the owl, a night creature and also an ill omen, “It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman”6, represent Macbeth. The interference in the natural order was destroyed due to the perverted circumstances of an owl, a night and an inferior creature, would have killed a falcon, and day and a distinguished creature7. The line “Augures, and understood relations, have/ By maggot-pies [magpies], and choughs [jackdaws], and rooks, brought forth/The secret’st man of blood.” 8 The magpies, jackdaws, and rooks are the kind of birds that can be taught how to speak. In this line, Macbeth realizes that some way or another, the things he and his did will be revealed, fortifying the irony to Lady Macbeth’s line in Act II, “what’s done is done”. Within the play, bird imageries are found throughout. The imageries act both to symbolize and to characterize. First, as mentioned from the previous paragraph, the falcon represents Duncan, the most beloved king of Scotland and the owl is to Macbeth. The birds of the night represent Macbeth, the owl and crow, and both represent the act of murders towards Duncan and Banquo. These two murders are important because we can clearly Macbeth moral deterioration; his murder is filled with anxiety and guilt while his second murder, he was fully aware of what he was doing and even asked “darkness” to help him hide9, he has now fully accepted the act of murdering. Another bird of the night is the raven who was
“hoarse himself”

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