• 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. Marked by a teacher

    How might a Jacobean audience see certain events in MACBETH differently to a modern ...

    4 star(s)

    Therefore if you kill the monarch (called regicide), it was the worst possible crime anybody could commit at the time. If you did it, you were committing a sin against God and the audience would be so shocked they would be petrified.

  2. Shakespeare's use of the Supernatural in Macbeth

    or the milk a mother gives to a child. Either way, removing milk and replacing it with a substance that is meant to promote rage and malice is a terrible thing to do even when calling the evil spirits. Lady Macbeth finishes her soliloquy by saying: 'Come thick night, And

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

    At the beginning, he is extremely confident. He says, in lines 2 to 3 that his "castle's strength / will laugh a siege to scorn". After he hears the cry from offstage, he talks to make the audience feel sorry for him. "I have supped full with horrors," (line 13)

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

    Her husband's to Aleppo gone, master o' th' Tiger. Now that the witches have appeared the audience will now be waiting impatiently for the appearance of Macbeth. The audience know that Macbeth will be appearing soon due to what the witches quoted in the first scene.

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

    The same thing is done with the description of the house, as it gives the impression of a stereotypical decorative old lady's cottage, but looking deeper into the description, the place is in fact a bit shabby and almost unpleasant, for example, "there was a smell of cabbage."

  2. 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.

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