Macbeth – Context: Religion/The Great Chain of Being

Who did this theory of the chain start with? The Greek philosophers Aristotle and Plato, but adopted by Elizabethan England as a basic assumption of life.
What did the Elizabethans believe God did? God set out an order for everything in the universe, known as the Great Chain of Being.
The order of the Great Chain of Being? God and the angels at the top, to humans, to animals, to plants, to non-living objects, i.e rocks and minerals at the bottom.
How is the order of the Great Chain of Being sorted? It moves from beings of pure spirit at the top of the Chain to things made entirely of matter at the bottom.
Why did the Elizabethans consider the monarchs important, with this aspect of context in mind? They believed the king or queen was in charge because God put them there and they were only answerable to God (the Divine Right of Kings),
To what extent where the Kings and Queens important? Disobeying the monarch was a sin which was punishable and they believed that if the wrong person was monarch everything would go wrong for a country.
What was God’s social order on Earth all about? God created a social order for everybody and chose where you belonged because that was the place God had ordained for you
Where would the Three Witches be placed on the Great Chain? At the top as we know they aren’t human.
How did the Macbeths disrupt the natural order? Murdering the king which tampers with the Divine Right of Kings
Where is it seen in the play the consequences of Macbeth’s actions by disrupting the social order? His plummet in insanity – seeing Banquo’s Ghost, killing more people i.e, Lady Macduff and her children.
Who was God’s chosen King? Duncan
Where is it seen in the play the Elizabethans belief that the right person, Duncan, as monarch, everything would go right for the country? England winning the battle against Norway?