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Macbeth is a play about the supernatural and its effects on individuals. Discuss with close reference to the play.

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Introduction

Macbeth is a play about the supernatural and its effects on individuals. Discuss with close reference to the play. The supernatural was a subject of morbid fascination for people of this time period. Witches and witchcraft were fervently believed in and hundreds of "witches", mostly women were convicted and executed or burned during the years between 1560 and 1603. There were few who actually protested against this brutal persecution of others based on skimpy superstitious beliefs but against the masses, this was hardly an issue. Witches were supposed to possess an array of demonic powers. These included physical manifestations of supernatural powers such as flying, sailing across water on sieves, bring on night during daytime hours (ie. bring on solar eclipses), cause fogs and mists, and kill animals without leaving any physical marks on the carcasses. Witches were also believed to manifest their powers in metaphysical means, such as predicting the future and cursing enemies with fatal wasting diseases, induced terrifying nightmares, sterility and demonic possession. Another hallmark of a witch's powers would be the raising of evil spirits through the concoction and consumption of nauseating brews. ...read more.

Middle

Thus the cause of Macbeth's downfall, the influence of the supernatural, is clearly outlined. Several symbols indicating the usage of witchcraft or demonic possession can be recognized throughout Macbeth and it can be correctly assumed that Shakespeare integrated these ideas into his plays in order to make it more appealing to the public of that time period. In fact, the concept of the supernatural and was a hot topic at the time and proved to be irresistible to most people of the time, despite the inhumanity with which the public executions were carried out. Some of these signs were obvious, for example in Act 2 Scene 2 where Macbeth was so stricken with guilt it was almost as if he was possessed and he admitted he could not pray, "I could not say Amen". This was a sure indication that if God had truly turned his back on Macbeth and rendered him unable to pray then indeed Macbeth had been converted to a servant of the dark side. It struck the audience of the time cold with fear, as they were all religious Christians who fervently believed in the notions of Heaven and Hell to think that God ...read more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Macbeth's overall disturbed behavior was caused by messengers of the supernatural as well as always accompanied by signs of the supernatural. His fearlessness, unresponsiveness to life and general betrayal of the strong Christian faith that was typical in people of the time showed that Macbeth had indeed morphed into something of the Devil's damned servant. The supernatural followed the Thane of Glamis from his victory to the Thane of Cawdor through to his death. It is in my personal opinion that Shakespeare utilized the mention of the supernatural extensively throughout the play to make it more action-packed for his audience of the time. It worked excellently as the general public's faith was motivated primarily by the Church, which did not want to release its stranglehold upon medieval England. The threats of eternal damnation, coupled with physical torture and death, was to prove a formidable combination in keeping the populace under control, and tied to the Church for several centuries more. * Supernatural are key elements that bring macbeth as a whole * Banquo ghost * Constant prescence of ladymacbeth is significant to the play- she constantly associates with evil * ...read more.

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