In Macbeth, what are the exact quotes of all plant imagery?I know there are a few references to seeds, flowers, and roots but I know there's more. What are they and where in the play are they?...

In Macbeth, what are the exact quotes of all plant imagery?

I know there are a few references to seeds, flowers, and roots but I know there's more. What are they and where in the play are they? Thanks.

Asked on by drew777

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accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

You are right in identifying planting as a recurrent image throughout the play. There are many examples of where this image appears, but I will focus on three of the main occurrences.

Act I scene 4, lines 28-29:

I have begun to plant thee, and will labour

To make thee full of growing.

Act IV scene 1, lines 58-61:

                  ...though the treasure

Of nature's germens tumble all together,

Even till destruction sicken...

Act V, scene 8, lines 64-69:

              ....What's more to do,

Which would be planted newly with the time -

As calling home our exiled friends abroad

That fled the snares of watchful tyranny,

Producing forth the cruel ministers

Of this dead butcher and his fiendlike queen.

What you will want to do is examine how all instances of such imagery tie in to a central theme of the play: order vs. disorder. The first quote is from Duncan when he is talking how he will reward both Macbeth and Banquo for their loyalty and courage in battle. Under the system of "order", a king's duty was to reward faithful subjects to allow them to "flourish", which we see in his giving Macbeth a new title and other honours besides. However, in the second quote, we see Macbeth completely rejecting the natural "order" of things, wishing destruction upon his kingdom in order to gain knowledge from the witches. Lastly, Malcolm, having defeated Macbeth, re-establishes order in Scotland, and talks of calling back the exiles who have fled Macbeth's tyranny.

Therefore, the image of planting in the play is one that is used to help us examine the state of Scotland and is a kind of mirror that reflects the true nature of its leaders - obviously finding its nadir in the despotism of Macbeth.

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