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One of the great features of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' is the supernatural element.

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Introduction

Macbeth Shakespeare Assignment Kieran Hanby Southmoor 39555 One of the great features of Shakespeare's 'Macbeth' is the supernatural element. There are several manifestations of it throughout the play and it has a number of different functions and effects. I think that this is reason for the popularity of 'Macbeth'. I think William Shakespeare would have done a lot of research into the supernatural so that he could get the witch like characters he wanted. He would have chosen the witches because at that time the Jacobeans had a very strong belief in witchcraft and the supernatural. The number of witch trails and executions that took place at this time prove this. Even the ruling King at the time, King James III, wrote a book about the supernatural called 'Demonology' but this was written before he became King. 'Macbeth' is very intriguing; this is a play containing many persuasive and deceptive prophecies, converting good into evil. The beginning of this play starts with the three witches, William Shakespeare would have done this to get the audience's attention, and to make a lasting impression on the audience. Even from the beginning you can tell who is going to be involved with the witches: First witch: ''Where the place? Second witch: Upon the heath. Third witch: There to meet with Macbeth.'' There are three witches, this is thought out to be a supernatural number and multiples of three are used throughout the play. In the 'Polanski film version' each witch has a deformity, one cannot speak, one cannot hear, and one cannot see, it seems to be the ironic version of the three monkeys: '' Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil.'' The witches are talking about where and when they are going to meet back up, at the beginning of the play: First witch: ''When shall we three meet again In thunder, lightening or in rain? ...read more.

Middle

He says that where they spent the night the chimneys were blown off and strange noises were heard: "Our chimneys were blown down'" "Lamentings heard I' th' air, strange screams of death, And prophesying with accents terrible." Later Ross talks to an old man who tells him more strange happenings during the night when King Duncan was killed: "A falcon towering in her pride of place Was by a mousing owl hawked at, and killed." This is saying that a falcon that was climbing in the sky got killed by an owl that hawked at it. This I unnatural as they are two birds of prey attacking each other, when they should normally be attacking small birds, mice and that sort! Also Ross talks about Duncan's horses, saying that they became wild and broke out of their stalls, ran off and ate each other, even though they had been trained! I think the reason why William Shakespeare put these happenings in is as follows. In the Jacobean times everyone believed that there was an order to everything (like a food chain-sheep eats grass, humans eat sheep). So when King Duncan was killed that was an order destroyed, the order of power: "GOD KING NOBLES MERCHANTS PEASANTS ANIMALS, BIRDS, ETC. VEGETABLES." Therefore if one chain is broken the rest are, so when the King was killed it has affected the rest of the chains. Another they mention is the cycle of day and night: "by th' clock 'tis day. And yet dark night strangles the travelling lamp." This is saying that by the time it should be day, but it is still dark. This quote strengthens my proposition. Also this quote shows the power the witches have to control the weather and light. Later in the play, once Macbeth is King, he decides to kill Banquo, this is because Macbeth knows that Banquo is suspicious about the killing of King Duncan because Banquo knows all of the prophecies and thinks it too odd for them ...read more.

Conclusion

And that is the second prophecy true, Macduff I saying that he was born by Caesarean section, not the normal way of being born. And the third prophesy: "Macbeth, Macbeth, Macbeth, beware Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough." Well here it stands, Macbeth facing Macduff, the person he is meant to beware, and so he should. Macbeth and Macbeth fight and Macbeth is slaughtered. As you can see all the prophecies came true in an unexpected way, the trees did not really come to Dunsinane hill, and Macduff was not really not born of woman. So all of these prophecies were tricks, as they did not morally come true. The witches had a huge effect on Macbeth. Without them putting ideas into his head, I don't think that he would have killed King Duncan and Banquo. Lady Macbeth also plays a big part in this play because she was pushing Macbeth to kill King Duncan, calling him, agitating him etc. Also I think another reason why 'Macbeth' has witches in it is because William Shakespeare knew that the King, James I, was coming to watch the opening play and he knew he was in interested in the supernatural as he had written a book called 'Demonology' which was about the supernatural, so Shakespeare was trying to impress him. Also the witches add atmosphere to the play. There were quite a lot of supernatural events in the play, there were witch scenes, hallucinations and a number of unnatural happenings. These scenes are very effective as they add a lot of atmosphere and entertainment. They also add anxiety and suspense. I think most of the scenes will be very good to act out in theatre or film, as they are quite flexible. The supernatural make a huge contribution to this play because, they transform Macbeth, from good to evil, they provoke him and put ideas in his mind, they push him to do more. The supernatural is the best part of the play in my eyes! ...read more.

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