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How Does Shakespeare Use the Supernatural in Macbeth?

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Introduction

How Does Shakespeare Use the Supernatural in Macbeth? In 'Macbeth' the supernatural plays a major part and I think is the main base on which the play is created. The Supernatural as a topic is used in many ways, the most obvious being the witches. In the days that Shakespeare wrote this play many people believed in witchcraft, and it terrified people. So the impact of Shakespeare putting witches in 'Macbeth' must have been massive. Also watching the scenes on stage must have been very scary and disturbing for the audience. The witches first appear at the start of the play when the three of them are out on the heath this first scene immediately tells us a lot about the witches. In the first line "When shall we three meet again, In thunder, lightning or in rain?" we get the impression that the witches have the power to change the weather to suit themselves. The witches go on to say they have a plan to meet Macbeth "Once the battles lost and won." The next time we see the witches is after Macbeth has finished in battle in the scene where the witches first meet Macbeth. The scene starts with one of the witches telling a story of how a woman munching chestnuts refused to give the her one, so the witch used her power to stop the woman's husband from sleeping. ...read more.

Middle

Also Lady Macbeth's words "Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under't." reflects to fair and foul; appearance and reality. All this could be the witches putting words in people's mouths. The coincidence of these repetitions is purely supernatural. Lady Macbeth plays a major part in the murder of Duncan, persuading Macbeth to do it in many ways. People claim many things about Lady Macbeth, that she is ambitious, mad or plain evil. Whatever goes on in her head she is never far away from the supernatural. Lady Macbeth first hears about the witches predictions in a letter from Macbeth and she is immediately intrigued. She first brings up spirits on what she says, "Hie thee hither, that I may pour my spirits in thine ear." Once the messenger has gone Lady Macbeth goes on to deliver one of the most disturbing and supernatural speeches in the play. She wants to kill Duncan but doesn't have the heart to. So she asks the spirits to come and possess her, to wipe all traces of good and conscience from her. "Come you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts! Unsex me here." It seems as if she is asking the spirits to make her a man. She then goes on to say totally weird thing that suggest she wants to be mentally stronger, "Make thick my blood" she is asking the evil spirits to "Come to my woman's breasts and take milk for gall." ...read more.

Conclusion

Although 'Macbeth' is a tragedy, because of Macbeth being a great man with a fatal flaw in his character which leads to his downfall, it is mainly based on the theme of the supernatural and almost every scene and character in the play is influenced by this in some way. Even small parts such as Sayton, it is debatable, if pronounced 'Satan', whether Shakespeare put this person in to represent the devil as he is always by Macbeth's side. I think however, the play would have had more effects on audiences in Shakespeare's day rather than today's audience. This is because of a few reasons; the play is on the theme of treason and the things Macbeth did seemed even worse in Shakespeare's time because of the divinity of kings. People believed God chose the kings, and so to kill a king was seen as defying God. Also the supernatural was more significant in Shakespeare's day, many people believed in witchcraft and the strange going things featured in 'Macbeth'. So to go and see 'Macbeth' at the theatre would have made an impact on people. Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' is one of the most famous plays in history and it's the weird happenings and supernatural vibes that run through the play which appeals to people and makes 'Macbeth' so successful. ?? ?? ?? ?? 4 1 ...read more.

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