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Examine the dramatic impact and influence of the supernatural in 'Macbeth'

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Introduction

Examine the dramatic impact and influence of the supernatural in 'Macbeth' Dramatic impact is the effect on the audience. 'Macbeth' is a play designed to be performed for and to involve the audience. Dramatic influence is the way supernatural has effect upon the characters in the play. In Shakespeare's time, most people believed in witches and witchcraft and they were the objects of morbid and fevered fascination. Persecution reached terrifying proportions. Between 1560 and 1602, hundreds of people, mostly women, were convicted as witches and were executed. Although some voices were raised against this superstitious and barbarous persecution, most people had believed in witched. There were hundreds of pamphlets describing the lurid details of witchcraft trials printed. They enjoyed large and popular sales, which were the equivalent to our popular newspapers today. Witches were credited with diabolical powers. They could do things like predicting the future, fly, bring on night in daytime, cause fogs and kill animals. They cursed enemies with fatal wasting diseases and induced nightmares and sterility, and could take demonic possession of any individual they chose. Witches could raise evil spirits by concocting a horrible brew with nauseating ingredients. Macbeth may have been performed before King James in 1606. ...read more.

Middle

'I thought good to deliver thee, my dearest partner of greatness, that thou mightst not lose the dues of rejoicing by being ignorant of what greatness is promised thee. Lay it to thy heart and farewell.' (Act I Scene 5, lines 9-12). Her dramatic speeches build up the tension and excitement in the atmosphere and touches on what Shakespeare's audience would have believed. Lady Macbeth continues to persuade Macbeth in murdering Duncan, even though Macbeth becomes in doubt with the plan. The audience sees how Lady Macbeth seems to push her husband, almost as witches did earlier in the play. Lady Macbeth calls on supernatural spirits to assist her plans of helping her husband to achieve his newfound ambition of kingship. '...Come you spirits That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here And fill me from the crown to the toe topfull Of direst cruelty;...' (Act I, Scene 5, lines 38-41). In Act Two, the main events of supernatural are of Macbeth seeing a dagger and how he cannot say 'Amen' and is haunted in his sleep as he hears voices. Macbeth sees a dagger before his eyes. 'Is this a dagger I see before me, The handle toward my hand? ...read more.

Conclusion

'...Yet I will try the last. Before my body, I throw my warlike shield...' (Act V, Scene 8, lines 32- 33). At first, Macbeth refuses to fight with Macduff, but when he is threatened with display and humiliation, he at last picks up his sword and fights. Macbeth realises that the double meanings which the spirits had given him, had him fooled and he is prepared to die. This is the huge dramatic influence on Macbeth as he finally realises that he had been tricked into what he had done. Atlast, Macduff gets his revenge for his family. Shakespeare tries to create a supernatural atmosphere by the language he uses. Certain words recur throughout Macbeth, creating meaning, atmosphere and significance. For example the words, 'blood', 'fear', and 'sleep'. The use of words like this repetitively, creates tension, and a dark, spooky and dramatic atmosphere. Characters like Macbeth and Lady Macbeth had spoken soliloquies, which reveals to the audience their inner thoughts and motives. Macbeth often thinks aloud, about half his lines seem to be spoken to himself. This use of him thinking aloud is very essential to the audience, as the audience needs the knowledge of how he feels after acting upon something. For example, he had felt bad after killing Duncan, and he had kept killing because he did not want to lose what he had gained. ...read more.

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