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How would an audience in the time if Shakespeare reacts to the role of the Supernatural and Witchcraft in Macbeth?

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Introduction

Macbeth - William Shakespeare How would an audience in the time if Shakespeare reacts to the role of the Supernatural and Witchcraft in Macbeth? William Shakespeare wrote "The Scottish Play" to celebrate the Coronation Of James I of England who was also James VI of Scotland. Elizabeth I had just died and common beliefs and prophecies were taking a major part in people's livelihood. Two imparticular, which were such as the Supernatural and Witchcraft. This was all starting to take place within the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603) The public were increasingly occupied with speculations and legends of people being called Witches just because they were slightly different in some way or form. In 1564 a law came in force to prevent Witchcraft from taking place. Murder by Witchcraft would become punishable by death, thus acknowledging witches with supernatural powers. It is estimated that in Scotland alone 8,000 so-to-be witches were burned to death between 1564 and 1603. In 1604 an additional law was passed in Scotland, which declared anyone found to be practising Witchcraft should be executed. James I himself became personally involved with Witchcraft. James I then went on to publish work about Witchcraft "Demonology" in 1597. Although some people rebelled against this persecution, the belief in witches was widespread, and continued to the last execution in the late 17th century. Adding to the hatred of Witchcraft was the fact that the country at that time was Christian. This also gave the country a literal belief in Heaven and Hell so the audience would have been horrified to hear the witches chant. "Fair is foul and foul is fair" With their religious beliefs in that time, for them this moral reversal will have come as a horrifying shock to hear this being spoken on stage. Scotland was not the only country which Witchcraft took over people's life. In Salem U.S.A, there were the famous Salem Witch-Trials. ...read more.

Middle

Lady Macbeth then launches a powerful harangue on Macbeth, accusing him of exactly what he did not want, and that is to be accused of not being a man. She goes on to create an atrocious image of her killing her baby and appears to have joined the forces of evil and she will surely not let this opportunity of becoming Queen Pass. She now appears to have had her wish of being filled with evil fulfilled. "...........I have given suck, and know How tender 'tis to love the babe that milks me- I would while it was smiling in my face Have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, And dashed the brains out, had I so sworn as you Have done to this." The people of the time of Shakespeare believed that the witches could cause hallucinations and this is what occurred to Macbeth when he sees a dagger coming towards him. Macbeth's mind is filling of dark and evil desires and is also tormented by images of blood, fear, and the unknown. "Is this a dagger which I see before me, The handle toward my hand? Come let me clutch thee". "Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but A dagger of the mind, a false creation," "Mine eyes are made the fools o' th' other senses," Macbeth now explains that he is sure that this dagger which he sees in front of him is definitely a "false creation" and is not real but a hallucination. Macbeth then personifies murder and feels he is going to do a deed similar to what someone else did before him yet in different circumstances. "With Tarquin's ravishing strides, towards his design Moves like a ghost." Murder is against Macbeth's nature and against the natural order of thing. The darkness is Shakespeare's way of using language to symbolise evil powers rising up against the powers of goodness and light. ...read more.

Conclusion

"I have done no harm" Act four scene three enlightens the audience as to the character that Macbeth has now become. He has now become a complete contrast to what he was at the start of the Scottish play. "For brave Macbeth - well he deserves that name - " On receiving the news about the murder of his family Macduff is urges by Malcolm to enrage his heart and get revenge on Macbeth. "I grant him bloody, Luxurious, avaricious, false, deceitful, Sudden, malicious, smacking of every sin That has a name." There are also points to prove about how Macbeth is running the country and in what state it is in. "Stands Scotland where it did? Alas, poor country! Act five scene one is the last time that we see Lady Macbeth and she is still complete contrast to what we see of her in the beginning. She is suffering like the prediction she made after the death of Duncan. This is that she told Macbeth that if he kept on thinking about it then he would drive himself insane and loose control and go mad. She has done exactly that, and spends her nights sleep-walking and has ordered that light is to be with her all the time especially at night. "How came she by that light? Why it stood by her. She has a light by her Continually, 'tis her command." Could this possibly mean that she needs light around her, or could we say, she needs goodness around her, to protect her possibly? When she is sleepwalking she goes to the bathroom to try and wash off a "dammed spot" of blood on her hand. This is another contrast of Lady Macbeth where at first she said, "a little water cleans us of this deed." She is now in her own private hell full of blood, fog and filthy air. She is now pitiful, terrified or going to hell and yet realising there is no escape of going to hell so she can prepare for the arrival. ...read more.

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