In Macbeth, Shakespeare shows how the cosmic hierarchical order of nature, the social strata ("The Great Chain of Being"), and the throne ("Divine Rite of Kings") is toppled by chaos, evil, death, and the unnatural.
Scotland should be a Christian country where God and King direct the thanes to defeat the forces of evil. In Act I, this is the case, as Macbeth and Banquo, under Duncan's leadership, defeat Norway and Ireland.
But, after Macbeth meets the witches, chaos begins. In Act II, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth commit the worst crime imaginable: regicide. They kill God's Holy Vessel, and Scotland thereby suffers an apocalypse. After this, signs and portents follow:
- Attacks on children; infertility (no children born to the Macbeths); murder of children (Macduff's son); attempted murder of Banquo's son
- Nature's revolt; earthquakes; violent storms; the bloody heath; nature taking revenge on Macbeth (Birnham Wood attacks Dunsenane)
- Animals revolt: animal kingdom's hierarchy is inverted; horse's eat each other; the owl eats the falcon
- Gruesome murders: of Macdonwald, Duncan, Banquo, Macduff's family; Lady Macbeth's suicide; Macbeth's beheading (similar to Macdonwald's)
- Supernatural signs; Ghost (Banquo) haunting the castle and signs of the future (bloody baby, the armed head); floating dagger
- No loyalty; witches becoming Macbeth's advisers instead of loyal thanes; Macbeth killing his best friend Banquo
- Time stops; the past, present, and future disjointed; "Tomorrow, tomorrow, and tomorrow..."