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What is the role of the Supernatural in "Macbeth"?

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What is the role of the Supernatural in "Macbeth"? When Shakespeare wrote this play in 1606 a large majority of people were interested in witchcraft. King James interest in witches and the supernatural was great because he thought they were responsible for his near death in 1590. He was so fascinated by witches that he wrote an article about them called 'Demonologie�. This may be why Shakespeare has made the witches and the witches� prophecies play a major part in the storyline and overall feeling of the play Macbeth. In the time of Shakespeare, witches were not thought to be supernatural beings themselves, but supposedly gained their powers by selling their souls to Satan, and were then instructed and controlled by 'familiar spirits�. The existence of witchcraft was recognised by English law - an act of 1604 made the practice of it punishable by death. People that were old, female, poor, unattractive, and others were accused of being witches. They were believed to have supernatural powers, that they could create storms, put curses on others, fly and cause people to become possessed by the devil. There can be little doubt that most of Shakespeare's audience would have believed in witches, and for the purpose of the play, at least, Shakespeare also accepted their reality. ...read more.


He now has a great surge of greed and ambition and it is this that drives him towards his coming actions. He becomes impatient and takes matters into his own hands. But the witches can't control his destiny. Macbeth creates his own misery when he is driven by his own sense of guilt. This causes him to become insecure and relies more on the witches help and guidance. The witches offer great enticement, but it is in the end, each individual�s decision to fall for the temptation, or to be strong enough to resist their captivation. The three Witches are only responsible for the introduction of these ideas and for further forming ideas in Macbeth head, but they are not responsible for his actions throughout the play Everything that the witches say sounds they are chanting a magic spell. In act 4 scene 1 lines 4-9 : 'Round about the cauldron go..........charmed pot. � Here the poet uses rhyming couplets and a different rhythm to the rest of the play. There is a repeated chorus in which they all join in. �Double, double, toil and trouble: Fire, burn; and cauldron, bubble. ...read more.


In the end, it all becomes too much for Macbeth. He starts to go delusional and on the night of the Duncan murder many strange things happen. Macbeth has a vision of a dagger, which then leads him to Duncan�s room. He talks to the dagger, and questions its existence, whether it is just a figment of his imagination. The strange and unnatural events, especially the imaginary dagger, show that Macbeth is not fully in control of his own actions and is being influenced by evil. But everyone is responsible for his own destiny. This is an essential theme in this tragedy. Macbeth chooses to gamble with his soul and when he does this it is only him who chooses to lose it. He is responsible for anything he does and must take total responsibility for his actions. Macbeth is the one who made the final decision to carry out his actions. He made these final decisions and continued with the killings to cover that of King Duncan. However where as some facts show that the results were all of his own doing, in act 4 he returns to the witches voluntarily to find out his fate in order to see what actions he should take. This suggests that the witches did have a great influence on his actions. Banquos ghost Conclusion ...read more.

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