Act II – Scene.iv
Outside the castle, the Thane of Ross encounters an old man who comments on
the chaos in the natural world.
Macduff joins him with news that Duncan’s sons have fled, and that Macbeth
has taken on the Kingship, thus the second of the witches’ prophesies has come to pass.
Shakespeare uses another traditional image concerning
the interpretation of unnatural happenings. The old man is in contrast to the witches who provide a vision of what will be. The natural world is in chaos as a symbol of Macbeth usurping the Scottish throne.
Daylight has been replaced by night; smaller creatures have killed larger
creatures; and horses have eaten one another in the King’s stables.
Shakespeare wishes to make it clear that Macbeth is an unnatural and unholy
Macbeth will have gone to Scone, the traditional place for Scottish