I need help analyzing Shakespeare's use of the Falcon, Crow, Bat, and Chicken in his bird imagery throughout Macbeth. Any thoughts?
I have figured out the Raven (announces arrival of death), House Martin (character is to be fooled), Owl (bird of the night), and Wren (fight's for her young)...but am having trouble figuring the other birds such as the Falcon, Crow, Bat, and Chicken. Plz help.
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On Tuesday last a falcon, towering in her pride of place, was by a mousing owl hawk'd at and kill'd" (2.4.11-13).
Supernatural events are reported to have happened the night king Duncan was murdered. There is an expected and natural order of things, and Macbeth disrupted that order by murdering the king. Therefore, it is unnatural that an owl, an inferior bird, would have been able to attack and kill a far more noble, distinguished bird like a falcon. Parallel to this, Macbeth, a man of weak moral character, has removed from the throne king Duncan, who possessed superior leadership qualities.
Light thickens; and the crow makes wing to the rooky wood: Good things of day begin to droop and drowse; while night's black agents to their preys do rouse. (3.2.53)
Macbeth plans to have Banquo murdered. The cover of darkness will hide this evil deed. While crows are, perhaps, petty scavengers of day, the more sinister and evil "night's black agents" come out to hunt at night. Macbeth has called darkness to his aid before (Stars, hide your fires, let not night see my deep and black desires.)--this time, however, he has no conscience, and he has no courage. He hires assassins do his dirty work for him.
All my pretty ones? Did you say all? O hell-kite! All? / What, all my pretty chickens and their dam / At one fell swoop?" (4.3.217-220).
Macduff hears the news of his whole family being slain. His deep grief is moving and tragic. He is referring to his children and their mother as his "pretty chickens and their dam". Macbeth stoops down even lower in his downward spiral of crime because he goes so far as to kill innocent and defenseless women and children. While previously he may have earned the audience's sympathy when he showed remorse for killing Duncan, now he deserves contempt at his ruthless savagery.
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