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Shakespeare's NatureFrom Cultivation to Culture$
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Charlotte Scott

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199685080

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199685080.001.0001

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Darkness Visible

Darkness Visible

Macbeth and the Poetics of the Unnatural

(p.121) 4 Darkness Visible
Shakespeare's Nature

Charlotte Scott

Oxford University Press

In Macbeth we come to understand nature as an equivocal discourse of aberrance and ambition, shaped by active intervention or manipulation what constitutes the natural is always under discussion. Understanding nature in relation to predetermined social or moral conditions, this chapter explores the ways in which Shakespeare’s tragedy confronts the possibilities of human intervention in the natural world. Reshaping the conditions upon which definitions of the natural depend, Macbeth begins to unhinge expectations of fixed characteristics. Exposing human intervention in the natural world as essential to the hero’s success, the play identifies the ways in which the human must exceed its nature and in doing so redefine the moral binaries upon which concepts of the natural depend. Establishing the moral legacy of the natural world, the Macbeths radically dismantle previously held assumptions about the status of ‘nature’ itself.

Keywords:   Macbeth, gender, nature, human, intervention, boundaries, culture

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