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Explain how Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are influenced by the supernatural in Macbeth.

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Introduction

Althea Avanzo English coursework Explain how Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are influenced by the supernatural in Macbeth. In Shakespeare's time witches were believed to have many powers. They were believed to talk to the devil, the dead and evil spirits. They were believed to predict the future (act 1. Scene 1 - 'When shall we three meet again in thunder lightning or in rain?') and change the weather. People thought they could fly throuhg air and make themselves invisible at will. People also thought they could kill or make them fall ill at a distance. Many witches were killed in Scotland between 1590 and 1680, more than 4400 women were executed. Most were accused of worshipping the devil in a church at night, flying around a raising stormsto attempt the murder of king James. Most of the supposed powers were included in 'Macbeth'. When we fist meet the witches in act 1 scene 1 they are predicting and altering the future with their spells ('When shall we three... there to meet with Macbeth'). Through out the play the witches also possess animal shaped creatures, in act 1 scene five the 'raven' mentioned by lady Macbeth in her speech is an attendant spirit the raven was thought as an evil bird 400 years ago. In Act 1 Scene 1 the witches are waiting for Macbeth, this seems to suggest that they have something in mind - they are creatures of supernatural origin The witches are presented ...read more.

Middle

He would like the king's murder to be over and done with already. Macbeth's famous monologue at the beginning of act 2 introduces an important theme: visions and hallucinations caused by guilt. The "dagger of the mind" that Macbeth sees is not "ghostly" or supernatural so much as a manifestation of the inner struggle Macbeth feels as he contemplates murdering Duncan.The same can be said for the ghostly voice Macbeth thinks he hears as he kills Duncan as well as the ghostly vision of Banquo at the feast in Act 3. In fact, almost all the supernatural elements in this play could be read as psychological rather than ghostly occurrences. If this is the case, then, one must question the role of the witches. Are they, too, products of Macbeth's fevered mind rather than real presences? The fact that they do no more that give voice to the ambitions but then there is the fact that Banquo also sees these witches and hears their prophecies in act one. Their role in the play is to represent the evil and the devil. In act 2 scene 2 Macbeth enters, still carrying the bloody daggers with which he killed Duncan. He is shaken because as he entered Duncan's chamber he heard the bodyguards praying and he could not say "Amen" when he finished the prayers. He takes this as a bad sign and Lady Macbeth tells him not to think "after these ways; so, it will make us mad" and warns him not to think of such "brainsickly things" but to wash the blood from his hand. ...read more.

Conclusion

In fact, he claims, the first lie he has ever told was this false confession to Macduff. He then announces that Siward has assembled an army of ten thousand men and is prepared to march on Scotland. In act 5 scene 5 Macbeth confidently orders his men to hang his banners on the outer walls of the castle, claiming that his castle will hold until the men who attack it starve of famine. If only the other side was not reinforced with men who have deserted him, he claims, he would not think twice about rushing out to attack the English army head-on. In act 5 scene 8 Macbeth enters, contemplating whether or not he should kill himself, and resolving that he is too brave to do so. Macduff finds him and challenges him. Macbeth replies that he has avoided Macduff until his point, but now he will fight. Macduff unsheathes his sword, saying that his sword will speak for him and the men fight. As they fight, Macbeth tells him that he leads a charmed life; he will only fall to a man who is not born of woman. Throughout the play, dreams, fantasy, and imagination enter the "real world." The witches' words become truth. The "dagger of the mind" points the way to a murder done with a real dagger. And in the Porter scene (II.iii), a porter imagining that he guards the gate to Hell turns out to guard the gate to a real hell in which the king is actually murdered in his sleep. ...read more.

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