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English Coursework The Importance of the Supernatural in William Shakespeare's" Macbeth"

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Introduction

English Coursework The Importance of the Supernatural in William Shakespeare's" Macbeth" The supernatural aspect in 'Macbeth' is extremely important throughout the play as in Elizabethan times it was greatly believed that the supernatural was a sign of the devil and was believed to be real. Nowadays in modern theatre if you introduced three witches and a ghost you would be seen as a comedy symbol whereas in Elizabethan times the audience would relate to them. Here Shakespeare uses verisimilitude in order to make his play more convincing to his audience. In this play the supernatural is represented in the witches, Macbeth's hallucination, the manifestations that accompany the death of Duncan and the alleged healing powers of King Edward the confessor. At the start of the play, the supernatural is disguised in the form of nature, in this case a storm. Shakespeare uses pathetic fallacy in order to set the mood for the play as violent storms in the Elizabethan era were seen to be a sign of evil and the supernatural.- "Thunder and lightning - Enter three Witches." This creates a feeling of unrest and tension in the audience, as we can tell that the supernatural and the weather are going to be used in the representation of evil. This is evident as every time the witches appear throughout the play thunder is always present. ...read more.

Middle

Banquo is not tempted by greed as Macbeth is. When Macbeth receives the news that he has been made thane of Cawdor, he thinks that all the other prophecies the witches gave him must be true too- " If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, without my stir." This is the first sign of the downfall of Macbeth as at the start he was seen to be an amazing war hero and now the witches have planted the seed of temptation in his mind and shown him a way to grasp his ambitions. When Lady Macbeth is trying to encourage herself to commit the murder, she calls upon the evil spirits to, "Fill me from the crown to the toe, full of direst cruelty." This shows how she doesn't think that she could commit the murder if she was a woman, and wants the spirits to fill her with single-minded cruelty so that she can go forward with her wicked plan. She asks the witches to "Unsex" her and that she wants them to stop her feeling pity or guilt. This was seen to be shocking to the audiences of the Elizabethan times as women were very much seen to be to delicate and emotional to be able to say or even think of such things as murder and by Lady Macbeth asking to be unsexed then it would make sense to the audience of that era as a mere lady could not do such evil deeds. ...read more.

Conclusion

After the death of Duncan Macbeth becomes paranoid about keeping the throne and Macbeth ends up killing Banquo as he thinks that Banquo knows his wicked secret. Banquo's ghost comes back to haunt Macbeth at the Royal Banquet Macbeth holds. Banquo's ghost is symbolic of Macbeth's guilt, in a way it symbolizes the little conscience that Macbeth has left. Ironically, the ghost appears at the Banquet just as Macbeth is about to make a toast to Banquo. It seems that the supernatural is trying to make Macbeth feel guilty for his hypocrisy. The supernatural plays an important key role in the shaping of events in the play. The witches are the main culprits of luring Macbeth with their evil powers, giving him the most important information relating to his future, and letting him choose between good or evil, which he eventually gives into. They sow the seed of temptation in Macbeth's mind and without their predictions, Macbeth would have been unaware of these future possibilities. All the forms of the supernatural help to play a huge roll in the destruction of Macbeth, and without the supernatural, the play would not be as interesting and exciting, and also would not end with the same disastrous consequences. The supernatural causes Macbeth to betray his king, as well as becoming a traitor to his own country, which he certainly would not have done if he were his own self. ...read more.

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