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

Discuss the role of the supernatural in

Extracts from this document...


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.

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. 'What is the role of the supernatural in the play Macbeth?'

    The dagger points to Duncan's room and appears to be covered in blood. The dagger buttresses the impact of this key scene in which Macbeth slays Duncan. Macbeth cannot tell if it is imaginary or real, these visions are symbols of evil in the world and the evil growing in Macbeth's heart.

  2. What role does the supernatural play in 'Macbeth'?

    the witches may have just heard gossip, and passed it on to Macbeth, for their own earthly jokes. However, they may in fact be sinister witches who are merely toying with Macbeth for their own sport.

  1. Discuss the role of the witches and the supernatural in 'Macbeth'

    They seem to conjure Macbeth. "Peace the charm's wound up." Macbeth's opening words are, "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." He seems to be under their influence, as he uses antithesis, which the witches enjoy using. It is an echo of "fair is foul, and foul is fair."

  2. Discuss the Role of the Witches and Other Supernatural Elements

    "Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here" When she says this, she is asking evil spirits to take away her woman qualities so that she isn't as sensitive as a female and feels she doesn't have it in her to actually kill someone.

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

    "When shall we meet again? In thunder, lightening or rain?" This does not become different from another sentence in the play until you notice the question mark at the end which could mean that they already know when they are going to meet but the question is what weather would

  2. Examine the role of the witches in Macbeth.

    a part to play and must not step out of his or her role. By killing Duncan, Macbeth will step out of his role and cause chaos. I also think this can be related to Macbeth, as the witches have carefully orchestrated his life and have great control over his destiny.

  1. How does Shakespeare adapt the holinshed chronicles to create an entertaining piece of theatre?

    Duncan first appears in the play in battle, and seems like a commanding character in control of his actions, but is later revealed to make errors in judgement, "He [the traitor] was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust."

  2. Discuss the influence of the supernatural on the atmosphere, events and characters in Macbeth

    audience the impression that the witches think killing swine is a perfectly normal activity to be doing. This indicates to us that the witches are evil and have no regard of what is right and wrong. In Act 1 Scene 3 we learn that the witches have the power to

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