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How influential was the supernatural in the play Macbeth?

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How influential was the supernatural in the play Macbeth? The play of Macbeth revolves around the three witches and how far their influence reaches. Shakespeare uses the witches in this play because the play was written for King James the I who had a passionate interest in the supernatural. At the time of King James the I superstition was rife in the country and people were very frightened of the power and influence of the supernatural. According to people of the time witches were very real and had many terrible powers such as the ability to curse people; change the weather; induce nightmares on their enemies. The play Macbeth shows how Macbeth went from being a brave and valiant man to a murderer. The play starts off with the three witches on the moor and it is very bleak with thunder and lightning. They discuss the events of a battle 'When the hurlyburly's done, when the battle is lost and won' its almost like a spell 'Fair is foul, and fair is foul: Hover through the fog and filthy air' In the next scene Duncan and a sergeant discuss the battle that has just been fought. ...read more.


All hail, Macbeth! That shalt be King hereafter. Banquo is not alarmed by the appearance of the three witches. He questions Macbeth and the three witches calmly. 'Good sir, why do you start, and seem to fear things that sound so fair?' Macbeth is shocked and scared by the witch's prophecies. Banquo's speech is calm and composed. In this scene Macbeth thinks about murdering the King for the first time. But then his common sense returns and he thinks about how divine and holy the King is. He thinks about why he wants to murder the King and realizes that he only wants to because of his vaulting ambition. He is disgusted by himself and so he makes his mind up against the idea of killing the King. He tells his wife that it will go no further. She has always supported him and been a loving wife but she berates him insulting his manhood and calling him a coward. 'And live a coward in thine own esteem'. This could already show that the supernatural has some sort of hold over Lady Macbeth. ...read more.


Hark! Peace! It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman.' This compares to the bellmen who rang the funeral bell for condemned prisoners at Newgate. Macbeth enters the chamber with hands stained with Duncan's blood. Macbeth's first words are 'I have done the deed, did thou not hear a noise?' Lady Macbeth's answer is lined with things that the Elizabethans found superstitious 'I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry.' The Elizabethans thought that a crickets chirp heralded death. Macbeth then seems to come out of a trance that the witches may have put on him. He instantly regrets the murder that he has just committed. 'This is a sorry sight'. While Macbeth is regretful again Lady Macbeth berates him she seems to be under the witches influence a lot more while Macbeth seems to have broken the spell. 'A foolish thought to say a sorry sight.' Though Macbeth seems to have broken the spell the witches seem to have cursed him and Lady Macbeth. 'Methought I heard a voice cry 'Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep'-the innocent sleep, Sleep that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care, the death of each day's life ...read more.

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