Macbeth Motif Project by Allison

Act 1

Scene 1: The first use of motif nature in Macbeth was made in the first scene in Act 1. The three witches were gathered together at a deserted heath (open, uncultivated land) during a stormy night. The storm set the tone of the scene and gave it a creepy atmosphere. This was appropriate because the three witches were chanting around a boiling cauldron about the next time they would meet. The three said, "When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, and rain? When the hurlyburly's done, when the battle's lost and won. That will be ere the set of the sun."

Act 1

Scene 3: After the battle had taken place and Macbeth was been victorious, the three witches met again as they said they would. They met at the deserted heath during a thunderstorm. The presence of the storm made the atmosphere of the scene feel eerie as it did when the witches met earlier. The three were waiting for Macbeth so they could tell him what his future held. As Macbeth was walking with Banquo he made the comment, "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." This comment was directed toward the thunderstorm that was brewing when the witches appeared. When Macbeth met the three witches they told him he would be named the Thane of Cawdor and eventually the King of Scotland.

Act 2

Scene 3: In this scene Shakespeare once again used the presence of a storm to set the tone for the dramatic events that occurred during the night. The morning after King Duncan was murdered Macbeth was talking to Lennox about when Duncan was going to leave. Lennox said, "The night has been unruly: where we lay, our chimneys were blown down, and, as they say, lamentings heard i'th'air, strange screams of death, and prophesying with accents terrible of dire combustion and confused events new hatched to th'woeful time. The obscure bird clamoured the livelong night: some say, the earth was feverous and did shake." Shakespeare used the storms and owl screeching to represent Duncan's murder which happened while everyone was asleep.

Act 3

Scene 5: Once again the three witches met at the heath during the middle of a storm. The storm was appropriate becuase Hecate, the queen of the witches was angry. When told by one of the witches that she looked angry, Hecate responded with, "Have I not reason, bedlams as you are, saucy and overbold? How did you dare to trade and traffic with Macbeth in riddles and affairs of death?" Hecate was mad that the witches alluded to Macbeth about the possibility of him becoming king. She went on to say that Macbeth would visit them the next day and that they would have to use their magic to call three different ghosts to tell macbeth his fate, the possibility of his death, and give him hope. Her reasoning behind this was because a man's biggest enemy is overconfidence.

Act 4

Scene 1: Nature is used in this scene when Macbeth visited the witches and three different apparitions visited him. The witches called the apparitions by saying, "Come, high in hell or low--yourself and your description show!" A clap of thunder announced the coming of each apparition. After the thunder the apparition would begin it's speech. The use of thunder created an intimidating atmosphere as Macbeth learned of his future from the ghosts. The first ghost told him to beware Macduff and was a head wearing armor. The second apparition was a blood-covered child and delivered the message, "Be bloody, bold and resolute: laugh to scorn the power of man: for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth." Lastly, the third ghost was a crowned child holding a tree. This ghost told Macbeth that he would fall when the Great Birnam Wood advanced against him at Dunsinane. This confused Macbeth because he couldn't comprehend how trees would come out of the ground and move forward.

Act 5

Scenes 4 and 6: Malcolm, Macduff, and their army was approaching Macbeth's castle and wanted to keep themselves hidden. To accomplish this, Malcolm said, "Let every soldier hew him down a bough, and bear't before him: thereby shall we shadow the numbers of our host, and make discovery err in report of us." The soldiers all took a tree branch and used it to hide the size of their army. The forest they got the tree branches from happened to be Birnam Wood. This was the same forest the witches said would advance against Macbeth and lead to his death. A messenger saw the trees moving and when he told Macbeth, was called "a liar and a slave." Macbeth didn't want to believe that the third apparition’s prophecy was coming true because he knew if it was he was going to be killed.