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

How would Shakespeare’s audience have reacted to the ‘supernatural scenes’ in Macbeth and how would this compare to your reaction?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Sumera Qureshi 07/01/01 How would Shakespeare's audience have reacted to the 'supernatural scenes' in Macbeth and how would this compare to your reaction? 'The Scottish play', 'THAT play' or 'The King's play'. Even today, when we distance ourselves from the contemporaries of Shakespeare's time, by claiming that we are aren't superstitious and believe in free will, actors still see 'The Tragedy of Macbeth' as an ominous or unlucky play. However, as two different societies, both the Jacobean and the twenty-first century audience would have very different reactions and responses to the supernatural portrayal of evil. "Macbeth", as a play, contains very universal themes, which are explored to a certain degree through Macbeth's own character i.e. ambition and desire. The main theme, however, is the struggle between 'good' and 'evil'. Characters such as Banquo and Duncan represent the 'good' while characters, such as Lady Macbeth and the witches, represent 'evil'. Macbeth, however, is shown to be a multifaceted and very complex character, in that he begins as a 'noble' and 'worthy gentlemen' however, by the end, has become a 'merciless butcher' and we, as the audience, can appreciate these gradual changes in his character much more clearly. ...read more.

Middle

This holds a key message for the audience, as the damned spot or 'devil's mark' which she refers to was at that time believed to be where a witch had allowed the devil to suck her blood in return for evil powers, again veritable proof for the audience of her possession by demonic forces. Nevertheless, for the present day audience this would have been just been an over ambitious woman, who has taken the wrong steps towards her goal and now regrets her ways. The killing of King Duncan is also a 'supernatural' scene in which there are a number of unnatural and supernatural events that occur all surrounding or are as a result of his death. The first unnatural instance we see in this scene is when Banquo, assuming there to be a murderer or intruder, draws out his sword to attack. This would have been seen as unnatural, because he draws out the sword on impulse, but it is odd for this to happen in a friend's house. However, in dramatic irony he draws out the sword on the right person: Macbeth, the murderer. In this scene again, we see the contrast in Banquo and Macbeth's character. ...read more.

Conclusion

The feasting and hospitality of this banquet scene also represented friendship and community; the disruption of the Banquet showed to represent the moral dissolution between Macbeth and Scotland. As a modern day audience, we have grown up in a society in which religion holds an occasional influence or relevance in terms of our every day lives, whereas Macbeth's audience grew up guided and governed by religion. In Macbeth, Shakespeare tried to send a powerful message to the audience about the wrong choices; Macbeth, and the right choices; Banquo, that can be made. To follow the formula of a tragedy he gave Macbeth his fatal flaw: ambition, and with the mixture of the witches and supernatural forces created an emotionally charged tale that held relevance to nearly every part of the modern Jacobean audiences' lives. These differences in time and culture are perhaps the reason for such stark contrasts in our responses to the various supernatural scenes, however, the cleverly crafted language and universal themes such as 'good versus evil', are perhaps the reasons why, even today, "The Tragedy of Macbeth" is still regarded as one of the best and most compelling plays ever written. Lit: Excellent and thorough critical evaluation of dramatic approaches and intentions = 24 Eng: Original analysis and interpretation of the moral, philosophical and social context. Thorough exploration of appeal to audience. Effectiveness of language analysed = 22 ...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. How does Shakespeare create dramatic tension in these scenes?

    She is seemingly unaffected by events that follow. Macbeth is portrayed as emotionally unstable once more by Shakespeare. The audience is given a taste of his emotional turmoil and possible hysteria through his wild ramblings, especially of his tales of hearing the guards shout "murder".

  2. How does Shakespeare Present the Supernatural in Macbeth?

    makes, nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, to cry, 'Hold, hold'. Lady Macbeth is asking here for dank darkness to come from the smokiest place in hell to make sure that she or anybody else cannot see the murders she will commit, and that she is not responsible but the devil is.

  1. Shakespeare's use of the Supernatural in Macbeth

    Therefore, she starts to think that Macbeth cannot murder Duncan alone, and believes he needs help from the evil spirits: 'Thou wouldst be great, Art not without ambition, but without The illness should attend it.' Lady Macbeth is saying that evil must accompany the rise of Macbeth, that he needs 'metaphysical aid'.

  2. How did Shakespeare appeal to his audience, both in the 17th century, and in ...

    he is really surprised and in line 105, says, "what, can the devil speak true?" The "what," shows the audience that Banquo is surprised. Macbeth is the only major character in act 5, scene 5. However, he changes a lot throughout the scene. At the beginning, he is extremely confident.

  1. Discuss the importance of the Supernatural in William Shakespeare's

    Lady Macbeth however, influences Macbeth to commit the murder. Even from the beginning, when she received his letter saying that he was to become king in the future, she immediately started to call the spirits and plot against King Duncan- "It is too full o'th' the milk of human kindness

  2. Explore and evaluate Shakespeare's use of the supernatural in Macbeth, supporting your answer with ...

    This use of the supernatural suggests that Banquo's ancestors will one day take over the throne from Macbeth. Macbeth's fear of Banquo's ghost also suggests again that Banquo is superior to Macbeth. Finally, Shakespeare uses the supernatural to interest James I when Macbeth seems powerless in the face of Lady Macbeth's illness.

  1. The extent to which the supernatural contributes to Macbeth’s tragedy

    Witch - hunts took place and many people were convicted of being witches and were executed. The witches fit in with the stereotypical perception of witches of that time, including use of familiars like Graymalkin and Paddock. The use of the paranormal occurs at the beginning, with three witches explaining that they will meet Macbeth.

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

    brings Banquo into a imagery of clothing and uses this to make the point that Macbeth is in a trance-like rapt. The witches then turn to Banquo and make three claims to him. "Lesser than Macbeth, and greater. Not so happy, yet much happier Thou shalt get kings, though thou

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