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Macbeth Shakespeare uses various forms of the supernatural in Macbeth, such as the witches, ghosts, visions and even Lady Macbeth. However, before analysing how and why he utilised the supernatural, it must first be ascertained why he was able to make use of the supernatural. At the time in which Shakespeare wrote Macbeth (the beginning of the 17th century) it was widely believed that witches existed and possessed evil powers, the most common and stereotypical of which were known to all people of this period. Even the king (James I) upheld this belief as is demonstrated in his essay entitled "Daemonologie" in which he states, "The fearefull aboundinge at this time in this countrie, of these detestable slaves of the Devil, the witches or enchanters, hath moved me...." Therefore it was possible for Shakespeare to make use of the supernatural in Macbeth as his contemporary audience would have readily believed it. His use of the supernatural in Macbeth could also be seen as flattery of the king by Shakespeare, showing his support for the king's theories in order to win his favour and even donation towards Shakespeare's future productions. ...read more.


Throughout the play Shakespeare deliberately includes these widely believed powers that witches were supposed to have, which suggests that the witches and the supernatural do affect the outcome of events and that Macbeth was not entirely to blame. The line, "Sleep shall neither night nor day hang upon his penthouse lid," is an example of the witches power over humans and could also suggest that when Macbeth and Lady Macbeth cannot sleep later in the play, the witches might have something to do with this. There is therefore a constant reminder of the fact that it could be the witches controlling things but alternatively there is still the possibility that they merely suggest and Macbeth is indeed in control of his own actions. In Act 1 Scene 3 the real powers of the witches are reiterated in preparation for the entry of Macbeth. The common practises of witches are once again included, such as that they could sail in a sieve and turn themselves into animals, "...in a sieve I'll thither sail, and like a rat without a tail" and also that they had the ability to change the weather - "I'll give thee a wind." ...read more.


The use of repulsive and cruel images such as, "Finger of birth-strangle babe, ditch-delivered by a drab," illustrate the gruesome scenes deliberately included by Shakespeare to terrify the audience. The horror is portrayed with the use of an onomatopoeic chant, "Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn and cauldron bubble." This line also sounds particularly sinister as a result of the alliteration, assonance and consonance used together to create a powerful incantation. Common stereotypes are used yet again in the form of images of the night, such as "darkness", "moon's eclipse" and "wool of bat." Disgusting images of dismembered reptiles are also included such as, "Adder's fork, and blind-worm's sting, lizard's leg..." A contemporary reference is made by the words "blaspheming Jew" and "nose of Turk, and Tartar's lips" because the audience would have been completely Christian and these peoples would have been destined for hell. Once the seen has been set, the witches can play a significant role in that they give Macbeth a false confidence by misleading him with riddles - this is used by Shakespeare to create dramatic irony. ...read more.

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