• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  11. 11
  12. 12
  13. 13
  14. 14

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

Extracts from this document...


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.


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.


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.

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. Marked by a teacher

    How might a Jacobean audience see certain events in MACBETH differently to a modern ...

    4 star(s)

    When Lady Macbeth calls on evil spirits to make her powerful and string-minded to carry out the murder of Duncan she says, "Unsex me here," and, "Make thick my blood." She actually wants to be changed into a man (on the inside)

  2. What contribution do the Witches make to the play Macbeth?

    It is here we notice that the Witches have infected him as he says `nature seems dead' and uses evil images and words such as `witchcraft' `wicked' and `howl'. The witches also have a major contribution to Banquo's death as Macbeth remembers that they `hailed him father to a line of kings'.

  1. Imagine that Banquo also writes a letter to his wife. It would be a ...

    The witches have been correct in one forecast that was not so serious but I f they are correct in this the consequences are huge. I miss you greatly, it is a times like this when I need you wisdom.

  2. Shakespeare's use of the Supernatural in Macbeth

    The chants are confusing and contradict each other. The three witches chant: 'Fair is foul and foul is fair.' 'Foul' and 'fair' are both contrasting phrases, 'fair' being good and 'foul' being evil. What they are generally telling the audience is that good is evil and evil is good.

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

    and by one of the powers that witches were believed to have they will make this weather system arrive for when they have planned to meet. The witches then go on to speak of another quality that they were believed to have and that is a link to the underworld, familiars.

  2. How Does Shakespeare Use the Supernatural in Macbeth?

    in which Macbeth visits them for a second time to find out more about his future. At the start of this scene the witches are chanting whilst making some sort of potion. What makes it scary is that the witches chant all the ingredients and they mostly come from some sort of dead animal.

  1. Macbeth's Dream

    The begin to chant, he is sure of his name, He wants them to go, it's no longer a game. One after another, their heads appear, He begins to tremble, he's filled with fear. Duncan, Banquo, his life Lady Macbeth, Reminds him of his crimes, all done by death.

  2. Behind every great man is a great woman. Discuss this in relation to Macbeth ...

    She wants to become more like a man. She wants the night to be really dark. So they can do murder without being seen as she says ?Come, thick nigh, and fall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell?. The effect of Lady Macbeth speaking like this is that she puts Macbeth down and changes his mind.

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