Over the course of Macbeth , dreams, symbols, fantasy, and visions impinge upon the "real world." The witches' fantastic prophecy is realized. The "dagger of the mind" points the way to a murder committed with a real dagger. And in the Porter scene, the Porter imagining that he guards the gate to Hell ironically creates a gate of “real” hell caused by regicide. When the Porter opens the gate for the thanes, he mentions that he and his friends were out "carousing till the second cock" (II iii 23). This statement calls to mind the cock that crows in the New Testament after Peter betrays Jesus by denying knowledge of him (Matthews 26; Luke 22). In Macbeth , the betrayal occurs in a more active form as Macbeth murders Duncan after the crows of the cock.
The corruption of nature is a theme that surfaces and resurfaces in the same act. When Duncan greets Macbeth, for example, he states that he has “begun to plant thee and will labor / to make thee full of growing" (I iv 28-29). Following the metaphor of the future as lying in the “seeds of time,” Macbeth is compared to a plant that Duncan will look after (I iii 56). By murdering Duncan, then, Macbeth perverts nature by severing himself effectively from the very "root" that feeds him. For this reason, perhaps, the thought of murdering Duncan causes Macbeth's heart to "knock at [his] ribs / Against the use of nature" (I iii 135-36). Just as the Weird Sisters pervert the normal course of nature by telling their prophecy, Macbeth upsets the course of nature by his regicide.
How does the character of Lady Macbeth develop throughout the play? Think about the key events of the play and Lady Macbeth's changing thoughts and feelings, before working through some important questions about Lady Macbeth's character. We have chosen quotations to support the points made, but try to find other examples yourself to use in your essays. Look at how quickly Lady Macbeth fades out of the action. It is only a matter of days between the point where she is driving Macbeth to kill Duncan, and the point when she loses touch with him completely.