Owls In Macbeth

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Throughout the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the pattern of birds works to emphasize the theme of natural disturbances caused by chaos before turmoil. Most of the birds mentioned in the play display a strong correlation to Macbeth’s character. Shakespeare uses the symbol of the owl to demonstrate the disturbances in nature caused by Macbeth himself. Owls are known for their wisdom due to their correlation to the Greek goddess Athena. Lady Macbeth states that she has heard the owl both “shriek” (Shakespeare 2.2.3) and “scream” (2.2.5) following the Duncan’s death. Shrieking and screaming are connected to pain and torturous sounds; hence the reflection on the death. This in mind, the owl, full of both knowledge and nature, is representing…show more content…
It highlights the natural yet despicable defilements Macbeth will eventually broach. The first time that Macbeth had met the witches, they praised him, calling him ‘Thane of Cawdor and king of Scotland’ (1.3.47). Crows, like many other birds, caw when making noises. This implants an intense connection between the title “Thane of Cawdor” and these particular birds. Throughout the Renaissance time period of Shakespeare, and even today, a group of crows are known as a murder, the main recurring act from Macbeth during the play. Crows have black feathers which also predispose them to have the label of darkness. At this point in the play, the true colors of Macbeth can begin to seep into the readers mind. Perhaps the most renown references in the play to a bird species belongs to that of the “temple-haunting martlet”. Banquo claims that Macbeth’s home should have a sweet air if said bird resides there (1.6.3-10).However, the martlet is not actually a legitimate bird. It is one that appears solely, footless and beakless, on a coat of arms. In contrast, Banquo didn’t mention the martlet until well beyond Macbeth and his lady had discussed the planning of Duncan’s murder. The real debate that comes into play is the question of ‘Why would a martlet be in the courtyard if it isn’t a real bird?’ Well, nature had already been tampered with. Since nature responded so harshly to a mere thought, one can only imagine the severity of nature responding

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