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

Explore the role of the supernatural in Shakespeare's play

Extracts from this document...


Q) Explore the role of the supernatural in Shakespeare's play "Macbeth" "Macbeth" was a tragedy written by William Shakespeare in 1606. Five years after the death of Elizabeth 1st and the accession of James 1st, also James Vi of Scotland. The play shows the defeat of a man who has many fine qualities, but commits murder as a result of his ambition to become a king influenced by a prophecy of the supernatural witches. The first scene shows the witches planning to meet Macbeth. The setting of this scene is very important; they meet on a moor in thunder and lightning. The surroundings portray an evil image. The moor is a very lonely, barren and bleak place, while thunder and lightning are associated with evil. The witches� language includes rhyming couplets that contradict each other and sound very powerful. "Fair is foul, and foul is fair: Hover through the fog and filthy air" This quote tells us about the witches� hatred for all things good, and their love for things that are evil. Shakespeare adds rhyme and rhythm to the witches� language to emphasize their wickedness. The second part of this quote adds to their image of wickedness and would have created tension among the audience. ...read more.


Another example of this storm is from Act 1 Scene 3, where the witches' creation of a storm at sea shows the extent of their power. "Through his bark...tempest-tost", saying that she created a storm that killed the sailor. I think this suggests that the witches do not have the power over life and death but can exert an evil influence over other things, the weather in this case, to create a fear within the audience. The witches appearance and actions in the play are stereotypical of the public awareness of witches in the Elizabethan age. Not much was then known about witches and their existence was already beginning to be questioned. The witches in "Macbeth" would probably have been loosely based on the information known about witches at the time. The only information known about the witches was that they had supernatural powers that allowed then doing many mesmerizing stunts that were thought to be unexplainable by using witchcraft. It could be said that Macbeth controls his actions as shown when Macbeth says let fate take its course. This shows that Macbeth thought of the idea of murder before but the witches just sparked it off. ...read more.


The Jacobean audience would easily influenced by such events and would believe in their existence. In all his madness Macbeth doesn't realise his mistake that he has just made in front of people, but still continues to act in such way that the guests could become suspicious because he thinks it is some sort of trap. Also, he becomes so fanatical that he forgets his wife, Lady Macbeth, was suffering but Macbeth did not spend time with her. This cause them to move apart from each other even more then they already were. So near towards the end of the play all signs of love and affection were gone between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and never even spoke to each other. This was the cause of the supernatural witches and the prophesies that they made. In conclusion I believe that the supernatural was the central to action of the play and did exert a pressure on Macbeth to perform the murders and influenced the way he lived thereafter. However, the witches' powers could not extend as far as to force Macbeth to commit the murders. The witches did not force him to do the murder but just influenced him in doing so. Their role, as outlined earlier, was to incite him to doing so. ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 Hardik Patel (c) ...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. Q) Explore the role of the supernatural in Shakespeare's play "Macbeth"

    Their strange appearance "That not look like th' inhabitants of the earth" shows that Banquo and Macbeth are mesmerized by their looks. In act 3 scene 1, Banquo seems to comment more about their looks than Macbeth, and gives signs that Banquo is taking them less seriously than Macbeth.

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

    Some might argue to say that this is not a hallucination, but a form of the supernatural, but this could be either, and I think Shakespeare wanted to have this effect. But although the witches and Lady Macbeth persuaded him to do this crime, he is a free agent, in

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

    here the supernatural intent is terrifically developed: we have previously met the witches and their prophecies, the kingship, the glory, and now we have the ghost of Banquo. But Banquo saw and heard the witches with Macbeth, here only Macbeth sees Banquo.

  2. English Macbeth coursework-Is the supernatural wholly responsible for the tragedy that occurs or is ...

    The unearthly creatures talk of the battle being, "lost and won." This equivocation shows the witches have the power of prediction and that they have also been anticipating the fight for Macbeth's soul. The witches actively seek to meet up with Macbeth; this portrays their meddling side to the audience.

  1. Explore the role of the witches in 'Macbeth'. To what extent do they influence ...

    cause Macbeth to "spurn fate, scorn death, and bear his hopes 'bove wisdom". Here the witches are freely showing that they intend to mislead Macbeth in order to make him commit more murder.

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

    Straight away we get a sense of evil to Lady Macbeth. "it is too full o'the milk of human kindness to catch the nearest way" Lady Macbeth feels that Macbeth cannot do the deed because he to too kind and too full of human goodness to kill someone.

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

    The question they ask each other is in what weather they would like to meet in. "When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightning or rain?" By adding the question mark, this tells us that they have already decided where and when, but they will purposely choose what weather

  2. 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."

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