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Discuss the importance of the theme of the supernatural in William Shakespeare's

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Introduction

Discuss the importance of the theme of the supernatural in William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" The supernatural in Elizabethan times was seen as a very real threat to society. The public thought that there were such things as witches who could perform acts of the supernatural such as turning humans into animals and causing changes in the weather. Any mention of the supernatural in these times scared the public and many people, mainly women, were executed on the thought that they were witches. In the beginning of the play, as the 3 witches meet, they suggest another time. "When shall we three meet again? In thunder lighting or in rain?" In this they suggest 3 weather states that represent darkness and which are usually associated with scary strange happenings and are often something to do with the paranormal. In act 2 scene 1 Macbeth hallucinates and an image of a dagger appears before his eyes, " is this a dagger, which I see before me? Art thou not a fatal vision?" Here the supernatural is represented in the form of non-realistic images appearing before Macbeth as the witches have had an affect on him maybe causing the hallucinations by creating false imprints on his mind. ...read more.

Middle

The involvement of the supernatural in this scene is quite clear, as Macbeth is the only one that sees the ghost, which shows it is on his conscience and the witches have forced him to do something against his will. This means that the witches have manipulated Macbeth and are forcing him, against his will, to perform acts of murder and deceit to get Macbeth to where the witches have foreseen him. The affect that the supernatural has on Lady Macbeth is clear to see as in act 1 scene 5 she has opened Macbeth's letter and the words that Macbeth tells her have a great affect on her. "Come thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of Hell". These words of Lady Macbeth show her great desire to perform acts of evil and to promote her and Macbeth to power she will do anything as she believes that the predictions of the witches will come true as so far they have been correct. She uses the imagery of night and darkness to portray evil as the night is seen to be mysterious and a time of unrest for Elizabethans as they fear the unknown. ...read more.

Conclusion

In act 1, scene 3 Macbeth meets with the witches after a battle, they tell him 3 prophecies, "All hail Macbeth, hail to thee Thane of Glamis". This is already true and Macbeth thinks nothing of this. "All hail to thee Thane of Cawdor". This is also true although Macbeth is unaware at this point. "All hail Macbeth that shalt be King hereafter". This makes Macbeth wonder of the truth of the prophecies and does not instantly think them to be lying. In the same meeting the witches also predict that Banquo's son will eventually be king which Banquo immediately dismisses. When Macbeth reveals the prophecies to his wife Lady Macbeth this immediately brings out her evil side and she decides that they will have to murder the king and Banquo which Macbeth is unsure about doing. Lady Macbeth is very manipulative towards Macbeth and eventually forces him to carry out the murders, By questioning Macbeth she makes him want his dignity and uses reverse psychology to persuade him, "Hath it slept since?" "Wherein you dressed yourself?" "And live a coward in thine own esteem". Here she is calling Macbeth a coward which is something he greatly dislikes and his finally pushes him over the edge. ...read more.

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