The Story of Humanity: the War Between the Supernatural and Natural

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The Story of Humanity: The War between the Supernatural and Natural In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the prevalent theme of the supernatural versus the natural underpins the idea that calamity will happen if mankind defy the natural world—in Macbeth’s case, murder. From the beginning of the play, the witches introduce both the readers and Macbeth to the world of the supernatural. Their existence alone defies the popular concept derived from Plato and Aristotle, the Great Chain of Being. It is through this introduction that something changed in Macbeth, kindling the traitorous flame that would ruin him. In defiance of the Great Chain of Being, the inclusion of several uses of the supernatural in the Scottish place, which includes Macbeth’s first meeting with the witches, the three apparitions, and the air-drawn dagger, serve to illustrate the danger resulting from the humanly desire to go against the natural order. To understand the supernatural better, one must first understand a concept that held certain popularity during the medieval and the renaissance, the Great Chain of Being. Arthur O. Lovejoy explains it in, The Great Chain of Being: A Study of the History of an Idea, that the Christian world follows a vertical chain that segregates all existence into several hierarchies, starting with God residing at the top of the chain, and beneath him—the angels. On the other hand, rocks and minerals exist at the bottom of the chain. Lovejoy argues that each time one moves up in the chain, the higher hierarchy contains something that the lower one does not (Lovejoy 5-8). For example, animals are seated higher than trees and rocks because they contain motion. Above animals, mankind contains not only motion, but also a soul. However, mankind is seated lower than the angel because they are not wholly noble; the physical body creates the temptation to sin. Within each hierarchy,
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