Birds of Macbeth

We saw Cheek By Jowl’s version of Macbeth at BAM yesterday and didn’t like it much. Among other things, the weird sisters’ brew was cut, and the night watchman’s drunken tomfoolery was stunningly mishandled. But I was struck by all the birds. In fact, Shakespeare is full of birds.

These are the birds named in the Scottish play, as actual animals and/or analogy/metaphor: sparrow, eagle, raven, martlet (martin), owl, goose, cock, falcon, crow, rook, kite, maggotpie (magpie), chough, howlet (or owlet), wren, vulture, loon. And, of course, the “hell-kite” who slaughters Macduff’s “pretty chickens.”

2 Responses to “Birds of Macbeth”


  1. 1 Out Walking the Dog April 17, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    Yes, birds & other animals are interwoven throughout Shakespeare’s plays. In Taming of the Shrew (despite the rodent reference in the title), Petruchio the tamer’s methodology is straight out of Elizabethan falconry, as he himself makes clear. Thanks for the link to Shakespeare bird page – look forward to reading it.


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