• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss the effects of the supernatural in Shakespeare's "Macbeth": How would this be viewed by both a Shakespearian audience and a modern one.

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the effects of the supernatural in Shakespeare's "Macbeth": How would this be viewed by both a Shakespearian audience and a modern one. The supernatural is an other-worldly force or being. It is used regularly and highly effectively in the play Macbeth. A seventeenth century audience would have viewed the witches and their spells, the ghost of Banquo come down to haunt Macbeth and Lady Macbeth insisting she has blood on her hands as supernatural. These events, especially the witches, are hugely important and influential throughout the play. In the day of Shakespeare Witches were strongly believed to exist, as shown by the many witch trials in Europe and America during which many "witches" were put to death. They were seen as demonic figures out to subvert religion and society which resulted in witch hunting becoming a very respectable thing to do. At the time Shakespeare wrote Macbeth James the first was king. He was a very strong believer in witchcraft and trialed over three hundred witches during his reign, all of which were found guilty. ...read more.


This suggests they have a physic link with each other. They also mention Macbeth. This suggests he will be the focus of their attention in the play Act 1 scene 3 is the next scene with the witches and we can clearly see what people thought about witches and their personality in one short passage. When the witches first meet in the play they talk about what they have done since they last met. Shakespeare uses this opportunity to outline the witches' personality. Witch two tells how she has spent her time killing swine, young pigs, which was a very common past-time for the public's image of a witch. This shows the destructive side of the witch and in the play they cause a huge amount of destruction. Witch one also tells of what she has been doing. She firstly tells of how she demands that a woman eating chestnuts gives her some. "Give me, quoth I". This shows the witches rudeness and gives the impression that the witches have been cast out by society long ago. ...read more.


The witches are servants of the devil so he was probably referring to the witches. This means he would have believed that the prophesy that Macbeth would be king, could come true as he would have known that witches could tell the future. He also knew his friend Macbeth to be highly ambitious and knowing this he might assume Macbeth to strive toward being a king. However, he also knew that if Macbeth did become king Macbeth would want his own son to be king instead of how the witches' prophesized that Banquos son would become king. This would lead Macbeth to murderous intention toward Banquo and his sons. This might have been in his mind as he attempted to persuade Macbeth to think nothing of the predictions. Here we can already see the witches influence in potentially breaking up a close friendship which is what they would have wanted. We then get a confirmation of Macbeths ambitions in his soliloquy soon after "If chance will have me king, why, why chance may crown me." While this shows he does want to be king it also shows he is not yet committed enough to actively increase his chances of being a king. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Macbeth section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Macbeth essays

  1. Shakespeare's use of the Supernatural in Macbeth

    Kind gentlemen, your pains Are registered where every day I turn The leaf to read them. Let us toward the king.' As soon as Ross and Angus walk away, Macbeth and Banquo discuss when they are to meet again: 'Think upon what hath chanced, and at more time, The interim

  2. How would an audience in the time if Shakespeare reacts to the role of ...

    This will also tell the audience that even the best of men can be tempted by evil. Banquo though refers to the devil as evil and so represents good in the moral reversal that is about to take place in both of them.

  1. Examine how Penelope Lively explores a) The Folly of Harbouring Pre-Conceptions, and b) The ...

    Mrs Rutter we find, stereotypes her visitors into typical male and female roles by telling them which jobs to do. She asks Kerry to mow the lawn, while Sandra cleans the cottage. Lively gives a description of Kerry as Sandra views him.

  2. Shakespeare used the supernatural to entertain and terrify in Macbeth. How would you use ...

    In fact throughout the scene Macbeth is perturbed and frightened, unlike Banquo who stays calm however sceptical. The prophecies that they make are that Macbeth will be first Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland and Banquo will father Kings.

  1. Compare The Presentation Of The Supernatural In The Two Productions You Have Seen And ...

    They are planning to meet with Macbeth but at this point we do not know their plans, which produces dramatic tension. 'There to meet with Macbeth.' The thunder claps and lightning flashes, which creates pathetic fallacy. The background music is discordant and seagulls can be heard in the distance, which portrays a haunting sound.

  2. How did Shakespeare appeal to his audience, both in the 17th century, and in ...

    he is really surprised and in line 105, says, "what, can the devil speak true?" The "what," shows the audience that Banquo is surprised. Macbeth is the only major character in act 5, scene 5. However, he changes a lot throughout the scene. At the beginning, he is extremely confident.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work