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Discuss the role of the supernatural in

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Discuss the role of the supernatural in "Macbeth" and it's effect on the audience Shakespeare knew that history provided fantastic material for plays. War, conflict, ambition and the downfall of great rulers just being some. Shakespeare, earlier in his career, had written a lot of his historical based plays around Raphael Holinshed's "Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland". It was through reading these that Shakespeare found the story of Macbeth. Shakespeare was immediately touched by the story and he knew that it was brilliant material for a play. Shakespeare used the basic storyline but he developed it a lot further and adapted it so that it could be acted on stage. He added, altered and removed parts to achieve maximum dramatic effect. Macbeth was written for and intended for King James I's viewing. We know this because the play has many echoes of James' interests. Banquo Holinshed had included an elaborate family tree in his "Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland" series. This showed King James' decent from Banquo. Unlike Holinshed, Shakespeare did not make Banquo an accomplice to Duncan's murder. This would, have no doubt, pleased the King who hated Regicide's (King killers). It actually turned out that Banquo had never even existed. He had just been invented by Holinshed as the source of the Stuart monarchy. ...read more.


After the episode previous, it seems that she is pure evil. Macbeth, after being told to kill Duncan agrees, but later on, he explains that he doesn't want to. Lady Macbeth then says: "I have given suck and know How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me: I would, while it was smiling in my face, Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums And dashed the brains out, head I so sworn As you have done to this." Basically, she says that she would rather smash her own child's head to pieces than break a promise like Macbeth. This imagery is very horrific. Her behaviour is appalling and unnatural. I don't think that anything natural in this world could do something as horrific as what she said. This, I feel, would have forced the audience to ask questions about Lady Macbeth's personality. "Is she really like this anyway?" "Is this a sign that the spirits have truly come?" I personally feel that at this point, the evil spirits had come down to her and I also think that this point is her worst and most evil. Around the time of the killing of Duncan, in Act 2, Scene's 1 and 2, there are a lot of supernatural and unnatural things going on. ...read more.


I think that this is the way Shakespeare would have wanted it to sound. I think that Shakespeare added this very cleverly and I think that he was trying to tell the audience that Macbeth, at this time in the play, was so evil that the devil himself was standing next to him. From the start of the play, right through to the end the supernatural is involved. The supernatural affects Macbeth massively and I feel that it plays a massive part in Macbeth's descent into evil. After starting his descent into evil, he doesn't, not for one single moment, rise from it. Once starting his descent, he carries on falling and falling until the point at which he is so evil that it seems like the devil himself is next to him. I think that as the play develops, the influence of the supernatural on Macbeth decreases. Although this decreases, Macbeth still becomes more evil. I think that after the killing of the King, Macbeth starts to rely less and less on the supernatural. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed the play of Macbeth. I think that Shakespeare develops the theme of the supernatural very well and very cleverly as the play develops. The atmosphere and certain points in the play have a massive affect on the audience, not so much now as they would have when this play was first written, but they do still have a great effect. Alex Armstead ...read more.

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