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Supernaturals in Macbeth

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Introduction

DISCUSS THE IMPORTANCE OF SUPERNATURALS IN MACBETH The supernatural is a powerful theme running through Shakespeare's Macbeth. Shakespeare uses the supernatural in many scenes and it vital to the storyline of the play, injecting horror tension and suspense into the play - are these supernatural events inside Macbeth's mind, or do they really take place. In this essay I will explore the theme of the supernatural in Macbeth, how Shakespeare uses the supernatural and how it affects the play. The first major use of the supernatural is in the opening scene Act 1, Scene 1. In this scene we view three witches meeting on a moor. Here they discuss where they plan to meet Macbeth. One of the biggest examples of the supernatural is introduced here - the witches. At the time Shakespeare wrote Macbeth the idea of witches was something that was taken very seriously by his audience - witches were believed to be real beings, living in secrecy among the good, Christian citizens. Witches were the spawn of the devil, and so this scene would have been very likely to scare, and excite Shakespeare's audience. This opening scene is a key scene as it sets the mood for the play - from the opening scene we can tell that Macbeth is not going to be a comedy. ...read more.

Middle

This demonstrates a feature of the supernatural - though it is not a physical presence, it is still there. They predict the future, and push Macbeth into a being that even they describe as evil. They are vital to the play. They also would have scared and exited the audience - referring back; again, the witches Shakespeare creates would have fitted perfectly into social stereotypes of witches. Even today, though witches are not so commonly believed to be evil, many cartoons and television programs have been influenced by these witches, in particular the chant they sing whilst making the potion in Act 4 Scene 1 - 'Double, Double, toil and trouble, Fire Burn and Cauldron bubble'. The first key scene, involving the supernatural, without the influence of the witches occurs in Act 3 Scene 4. This is the scene where the ghost of Banquo returns to haunt Macbeth at Macbeth's Dinner Party. However, only Macbeth can see the ghost and this leads onto the debate about whether the ghost is merely Macbeth's guilty conscience catching up with him, or whether the ghost appears to Macbeth and hides itself from everyone else in the room. ...read more.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, the biggest supernatural influence in Macbeth is the witches. However there are other supernatural occurrences that influence the play. In Act 1 Scene 5, Lady Macbeth receives the letter from her husband, Macbeth, informing her about his meeting with the witches. It is here that she decides they must kill Duncan. She then calls on the spirits to fill her with cruelty and 'unsex' her. Although she could just be trying to bolster herself up or prepare herself psychologically, she may also be calling on supernatural evil demons to fill her with wickedness. Act 2 Scene 1 is the scene before Macbeth murders Duncan, and where he is waiting for the signal to commit the murder. Before the bell rings, Banquo comments on how dark the night is, and how the moon is down. Is this a supernatural sign, signalling a dark, evil night, or a coincidence? Banquo also says that though he is tired he cannot sleep, as his mind is not at rest - does he have a feeling something is going to happen? When Banquo leaves Macbeth is left alone, waiting for the bell and his signal. ...read more.

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