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“Macbeth is essentially a study in the power of the supernatural.” Discuss

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Introduction

"Macbeth is essentially a study in the power of the supernatural." Discuss Macbeth was written in the early sixteen hundreds and this coincides with the reign of James the First of England. The play would therefore have been written with him in mind and considering James the first had a great interest in the supernatural which is demonstrated by the book he wrote on the subject called Demonology, this play would have been greatly enjoyed by him. There was witchcraft, apparitions and ghosts throughout the play. It wasn't just the King who believed in witchcraft at the time, almost everyone did. They believed that witches could curse their enemies, predict the future, bring on night in day, and cause fogs and tempests. One example in the book of this would be when they conjured up a spell to sink a ship upon which a certain captain was that they disliked. With this information in mind, Shakespeare could have written a perfect play to do with the supernatural, its power, and how it affects the king. Therefore, this play could have been written as a study into the supernatural. We must, however consider other themes in Macbeth to find out whether the supernatural is the strongest and most effective one or whether there are any other ones that affect the characters and the plot greatly. ...read more.

Middle

We now, therefore have another link with the supernatural and so we have Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the witches are now all associated with foul doings or the supernatural. The first scene in act two has a very small hint that the supernatural has taken over Macbeth's mind and is now helping him make every decision necessary. He imagines seeing a dagger before him which guides him to the murder of Duncan and Macbeth is already very dependent on the supernatural. He says 'Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses, Or else worth all the rest.' Meaning he thinks his eyes are being deceived by seeing a dagger which does not exist, or they are providing him with more evidence to go and kill Duncan. He believes that it is leading him to go and kill Duncan and so that action is carried out After the murder of the king has taken place and his body discovered by Macduff, we have a scene with Ross and an Old man representing the people of Scotland whose memory goes back an extensive way. The two characters discuss the events of the night of the murder. In their conversation we learn that a deed as evil as this has never been committed as far as the Old Man can remember: 'But this sore night Hath trifled former knowings.' ...read more.

Conclusion

Banquo's comment accurately reflects the truth: 'The instruments of darkness tell us truths; Win us with honest trifles, to betray's In deepest consequence.' These words are prophetic but Macbeth, however, ignores them to his great cost. The supernatural is indeed present in much of the play and I believe it is the strongest theme in Macbeth because of all the evidence seen here. It is clear that it affects many of the characters from the witches to Lady Macbeth. All of Macbeth's actions are because of prophecies by the witches, visions and apparitions. The play shows you what the supernatural is capable of such as casting spells to overturn a boat that is far out at sea or just simply plant an idea in the mind of a worthy warrior. The play ends with a cliff-hanger or a flaw in the supernatural: the witches prophesied that Banquo's children would be rulers of Scotland but it is Malcolm that took the crown. Another flaw is that perhaps Macbeth would not have been king if the witches had not told him he would be. The witches, however, may just have acted as a catalyst so instead of Macbeth becoming king in five years, he becomes king in five months instead. Therefore this study into the supernatural could be showing how the supernatural is correct in many ways, but can always have the power to be wrong. ?? ?? ?? ?? James Latimir 10TB ...read more.

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