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

Examine the role of the Supernatural in 'Macbeth'

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Examine the role of the Supernatural in 'Macbeth' The play 'Macbeth' is essentially about a battle between 'good' and 'evil' where the witches represent the 'evil' or 'supernatural'. It is a fast moving historical tragedy with images of evil, disaster, and tragedy all produced as a consequence of ambition. At the time that Shakespeare wrote the play (between 1603 and 1606), there was much fascination and intrigue with the supernatural and this play would have interested the audience a lot at the time and the theme of the supernatural would have kept them captivated. The play was supposedly written with King James the first in mind as it was written at the time that he was at the throne and he had also written a book, 'Demonology', a similar subject. The witches are used as a representation of evil and the supernatural in the play and they create a mysterious atmosphere. They also create an element of fear to help excite the curiosity of the audience. They are used as a tool to set the atmosphere from the very first scene 'In thunder, lightning, or in rain?' (matches the desolate setting). They also speak in riddles and in an ambiguous tone, 'Fair is foul and foul is fair' to set the mood right throughout the play. The way the witches speak is like that of a chant as they seem to speak in unison. ...read more.

Middle

From this speech alone, we can see that Lady Macbeth is probably the most evil character in the play, and all this as a consequence of ambition and greed. Another important scene where the supernatural is obvious is when Macbeth hallucinates and imagines he sees a blood stained dagger. He even suspects the supernatural himself as he doubts his own senses 'is this a dagger that I see before me?' This is when he is debating wether to proceed with this murder that is not only tabooed but is also considered to be a crime against god. The combination of being pressurised in to commiting the murder by Lady Macbeth and him being so ambitious drives him almost insane and he hallucinates. A third major scene where the supernatural is evident is the appearance of Banquo's ghost at the banquet. In this scene, only Macbeth can see Banquo 'Here is a place reserved sir' and he is shocked to find that everyone else cannot see him. This scene shows that Macbeth feels guilty for what he has done and is battling with his own conscience to maintain his sanity. Another important scene where the supernatural features within it is the appearance of the apparitions. This is when Macbeth goes to visit the witches on his own to find out more about his destiny. ...read more.

Conclusion

The good in the play is represented by Duncan and his good kingship and also Malcolm. Banquo and Macduff also represent good in the play as they are loyal and trustworthy characters. The strange healing qualities of the English king also represent 'good' in the play as they are kind and selfless, these strange healing qualities also contest with Macbeth. Not a lot of characters can be described as good in the play because the play is essentially expressing evil and exaggerating it. In conclusion, one can say that good does triumph over evil as, although there are a lot of serious crimes committed in the play, Macduff eventually achieves his revenge over Macbeth and he is one of the rare 'good' characters in the play. He manages to kill Macbeth which represents evil being defeated by good. But ultimately, the play is at tragedy. There are examples of murder, witchcraft and many other serious crimes. The message of the play is that crime does not pay. It is a play of political and social realism: showing how an oppressive hierarchical society systematically can produce corrupt individuals. It is also a play of ideas and themes, for example, 'appearance and reality'. The ultimate theme is that appearances are not what they seem. At the beginning, Macbeth is portrayed as a brave, loyal, valiant soldier, but we discover that he is actually quite the opposite. He is corrupt, evil and takes advantage of his position as King. Ricky Winborn ...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. macbeth- appearance vs reality

    Duncan is saying that the castle is very welcoming just by looking at it and smelling the air. This castle is deceiving to the king because it is not what it seems. It seems like it is a very 'pleasant' and wonderful place, however, in reality it is not at

  2. Shakespeare's use of the Supernatural in Macbeth

    She attacks Macbeth's pride, by hurling insults at him. It is night, and Macbeth is going to murder Duncan. He then has the famous soliloquy in which he says arguably the most popular line in the whole play: 'Is this a dagger I see before me, The handle toward my hand?'

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

    Lady Macbeth is playing with fate. "If Chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, without my stir" Also her calling on evil spirits makes us believe that she cannot be a pleasant woman. In act 2 scene 1 we observe Banquo, Macbeth and Fleance talking in the courtyard of Macbeth's castle.

  2. One of the great features of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' is the supernatural element.

    The last, well that just about tops it off, not owning just two parts of Scotland but the whole lot of it. This is Macbeth has wanted for quite a while as we find out in a letter he writes to Lady Macbeth in Act one, scene five: "Referred me

  1. Shakespeare used the supernatural to entertain and terrify in Macbeth. How would you use ...

    Macbeth himself appears to be cautious of the witches and their prophecies "This supernatural soliciting cannot be ill, cannot be good." In the first two scenes we saw the metaphysical and the physical. The metaphysical was encountered in the very first scene of the play.

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

    to them it is good (Fair). This is a moral reversal and also a paradox of what we believe in the world today. The closing of the scene is where Shakespeare brings Macbeth into the play but does not allow the audience to see him. The audience would now be wondering what kind of a man Macbeth is.

  1. Discuss the role of the supernatural in

    his bones and flesh were so bruised that whenever he bled, blood and bone marrow spouted from the wound. Fired by his experience interrogating the doctor, King James began investigate other witchcraft cases. In 1597 he published a book all about this subject.

  2. The extent to which the supernatural contributes to Macbeth’s tragedy

    The witches are somehow awaiting the arrival of Macbeth before he actually comes. From the opening scene Shakespeare creates ambiguity and an air of mystery with the witches by using rhythm rhyme to set them aside from the other character.

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