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

Supernatural events occur throughout Macbeth - Analyse the dramatic devices Shakespeare uses to portray these events, their ef

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Supernatural events occur throughout Macbeth - Analyse the dramatic devices Shakespeare uses to portray these events, their effectiveness and their function Like many others during the Renaissance period, James I was immensely fascinated with witchcraft and the supernatural. Belief in witchcraft had long existed in the British Isles, and James was not the first ruler to take such superstition seriously. Just as he believed that kings were chosen by God and granted their throne by divine right, James also believed that the Devil and his followers sought to destroy royal power by means of evil spells. Witch hunts and burnings flourished during his reign, and the king himself personally oversaw many witch trials and executions. Taking into account the King's intrigue and fascination with the supernatural, Shakespeare wrote the play 'Macbeth' for James I following Queen Elizabeth's death, entwining themes of witchcraft and the supernatural within the story. The play opens with the three 'withered' and 'wild in attire' witches in thunder and lightening. Shakespeare is using pathetic fallacy; the weather is reflecting the supernatural and evil events occurring. It was believed in superstitious times that storms were signs of dreadful events to come. The witches talk of the war that Macbeth is fighting in, as 'hurlyburly'; this makes them seem more powerful and above that of normal beings as they disregard it without a care. ...read more.

Middle

The second apparition is a blood stained child rising from the cauldron. In a play, acted out this was probably very disturbing and an effective technique to emphasise how sinister the event is. This apparition makes Macbeth believe no human can kill him, however we know the witches are tricking him as someone born by caesarean is not 'woman born.' Again, in the third apparition, the witches are using equivocal language, yet Macbeth does not apprehend this trickery. This use of trickery on Macbeth shows us how knowledgeable the witches are and emphasises the power of the supernatural witches. Lady Macbeth calls on evil spirits to fill her 'from the crown to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty' so that she can help Macbeth kill Duncan, as she believes he is too good-natured. Shakespeare uses shocking language to portray this event: 'Stop up th' access and passage to remorse' 'Come to my woman's breasts, and take my milk for gall, you murdering ministers.' This alliteration is used to reinforce the meaning of the line, to emphasize just how sinister and evil this deed is. This image is disturbing, as she wants her milk to be turned to poison so that any baby she has will be killed. ' I would, while it was smiling in my face, have plucked my nipple from his boneless gums, and dashed the brains out!' ...read more.

Conclusion

Shakespeare again refers to animals associated with the night; Lennox talks of the 'obscure bird' that 'clamoured the livelong night'; the presence of the owl signifies the supernatural. The effect of this is that we feel the presence of the supernatural whenever evil events occur, to accentuate its continual dominant power throughout the play. The main vision is Banquo's ghost in the banquet scene. Shakespeare uses shocking images to portray this event, the bloody state of Banquo's ghost and Macbeth appearing to have gone insane. The actor of Macbeth will be utterly bewildered and look quite insane talking to a ghost he can see, 'Thou hast no speculation in those eyes which thou dost glare with!' but that is not visible to anyone else, 'What sights, my lord?' This device is used to emphasise Macbeth's weak state of mind, as it clearly shows us he is petrified when he sees the ghost, crying out 'Which of you have done this?' 'Thou canst not say I did it! Never shake thy gory locks at me!' Macbeth sees Banquo in a bloody, 'gory' state as a ghost, which shows he was brutally murdered. As Macbeth is horrified when he sees Banquo's ghost, this shows us Macbeth's morals have not been completely twisted and still has human emotions unlike Lady Macbeth who was 'unsexed' by the sinister supernatural spirits. This shows the power of the supernatural goes beyond natural forces as it can affect and control natural emotions, morals and actions. ...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?

    The commanding, controlling nature of Lady Macbeth is felt again by the audience through the use of the imperative, "go carry them...smear the sleepy grooms with blood". Macbeth refuses, "look on't again I daren't not". The brutality of the murder is hinted at due to his lack of willing to return to the scene of the crime.

  2. How does Shakespeare Present the Supernatural in Macbeth?

    ministers," This means that Lady Macbeth wants all her motherly instincts to be taken away from her and instead, her milk can be used for poison for the devil. "Come, thick night, and pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it

  1. Shakespeare's use of the Supernatural in Macbeth

    Macbeth needs to know when he will become enthroned, and how he will go about it. He asks: 'Stay you imperfect speakers, tell me more.' However, the witches vanish, probably because they may have spotted Ross and Angus on the horizon, or they just want to create the dramatic tension

  2. How does Shakespeare use language and dramatic devices to present Macbeths changing character?

    Macbeth paces by himself, pondering his idea of assassinating Duncan. He says that the deed would be easy if there were no consequences. He shows he is willing to risk it but realises that; in his words, "Bloody instructions, which, being taught, return.

  1. Discuss the role of the witches in Macbeth your essay refer to Shakespeare's use ...

    Banquo is amazed "can the devil speak true?" Both Macbeth and Banquo know that the witches were really there and they were not just imagining things. It also makes Macbeth believe that the third prophecy can come true, but at this stage he hopes he will become King without having

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

    A messenger informs Lady Macbeth of the king's immanent arrival and she is then very excited and sees this as a perfect opportunity to get Macbeth on the throne. She then speaks a horrid and for the audience a shocking prayer to evil spirits.

  1. To what extent does Shakespeare portray the character of Macbeth as a war hero(TM) ...

    It almost seems Macbeth is under their influence already. At the end of Act 3 scene 1 Macbeth says to the murderers, who he hired to kill Banquo, 'It is concluded. Banquo, thy souls' flight, if it find heaven, must find it out tonight.'

  2. Who was the driving force behind the murdur of duncan?

    and more questionative and quiet frustrated that there not giving him all the answers and more details. We can tell this by the more and more questions he asks till eventually he gets angry: 'why upon this blasted heath you stop our way with such prophetic greetings?

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