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Macbeth - Notes on Elements of the Gothic in the play.

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Introduction

Macbeth Elements of the gothic Supernatural * An Elizabethan audience would have been genuinely terrified by the events on stage as they believed that witches did exist, murder by witchcraft was made punishable in 1563 thus demonstrating that people during this era believed witches were real and had magical powers. * The theme of equivocation is used by Shakespeare to highlight the witch's evil nature; they use words with double meanings to confuse and disorientate Macbeth's thoughts and cause a conflict in his mind (between good and evil). * "the weird sisters" - whilst also meaning strange the word weird is derived from the old English 'wyrd' which means fate or destiny, fate is often characterised as 3 old women. ...read more.

Middle

A blurring of fantasy and reality * The line between fantasy and reality becomes blurred; the pinnacle point of this is in act two scene two after Macbeth enters from the murder. His piece of mind has been shattered as he feels that he has "murdered sleep", there is no escape from his evil deeds as he has now become trapped in a living nightmare. To Macbeth (who comes over almost trance-like) he is just as vulnerable awake as asleep and to sleep would be too difficult because his mind has become corrupt with evil thoughts. (Macbeth becomes slightly hysterical during this scene as he struggles to make sense of what is happening to him, this is also an aspect of disorder) ...read more.

Conclusion

* In act two scene four Ross and an old man talk about the stormy night, symbolising disruption in the kingdom, there is definite mystery as the location of the conversation is unclear, conversation takes place somewhere "outside the castle". * "A camp near the battlefield" is the setting in act one scene two; a battlefield is a place where many people die, later in the play Macbeth becomes a murderer killing several people for un-just reasons. The king discusses the bravery shown by Macbeth and decides to reward him with the title Thane of Cawdor, he is being rewarded for killing here which could be a slight element of foreshadowing of his ability to kill for his own ends (merciless man). * ...read more.

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