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What part do the witches and the supernatural play in Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” ?

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Introduction

Simon Horton 10E3 English Coursework What part do the witches and the supernatural play in Shakespeare's "Macbeth" The witches and the supernatural play a symbolic and intense part in Shakespeare's "Macbeth." It is believed that Shakespeare wrote the play for his king, James I of England because of James' interest and expertise in the supernatural. The play was written roughly three years after the accession of James VI of Scotland to the English throne, as James I of England. At the time the play was written in about 1606 the tension in the country between the Catholics and the Protestants was growing immensely and after the famous 'Gunpowder Plot' was thwarted in 1605 there was chaos in the country. It was believed that evil forces were seeking to cause trouble and disrupt the natural order. King James had wrote a book on the subject of 'demonology.' Shakespeare realised James' interests in the supernatural and by including the witches and the supernatural in "Macbeth" King James took a lot of interest in the play and Shakespeare earned respect and liking from his patron. This made the play even more popular, because the king liked it, and I doubt anyone would want to disagree with the king. ...read more.

Middle

They control what happens in the play to a certain extent. Macbeth was like a puppet on a string and the witches pulled whichever string they wanted to. As we know the image of the withes that Shakespeare created for his audience was very gruesome, but it was not just their personal appearances that made them scary. The scenery they were surrounded by when on stage made them very eerie. For example, in the very first scene of the play they meet in a storm while a battle is being fought, and amongst their riddles they set the story for the play by indicating they are shortly going to encounter Macbeth, "Upon the heath," "There to meet with Macbeth." The image of the dark, frightening storm makes the witches even more terrifying. This pathetic fallacy is used often throughout "Macbeth" and Shakespeare uses it in a lot of his other plays. Whether or not the witches are human is debatable and this creates a sense of mystery. The riddles they talk in also makes them seem weird and abnormal. For example, they will meet again when 'the battle is lost and won.' This seems a total contradiction but is actually an intelligent statement because in a battle there is always a loser and a winner, so the battle is lost, and won. ...read more.

Conclusion

And sleep in spite of thunder;" and "Macbeth shall never vanquished be, until Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill shall come against him. Macbeth now thinks he is invincible because no one born from a woman can harm him and he shall not be killed until Great Birnam wood comes up to his castle. He is later proved wrong, he is mislead into thinking that no one can hurt him until he finds out that Macduff was born of caesarean operation, This frightens Macbeth but in one final act of courage he carries on fighting and does not give up until he is slain by Macduff. He is not just trying to prove the witches wrong; he is fighting for his life. On the whole the witches and the supernatural play an extremely important part in Shakespeare's "Macbeth." The witches control the play and without them I don't think the play would be as exciting as it is. They embody a few important themes of the play and they themselves, along with the supernatural are an extremely major theme. Also they are important because they are a main reason for attracting such interest from King James I of England. The witches and supernatural are thematically important and are a contributory factor to the plays overwhelming popularity, especially in Shakespeare's time. ...read more.

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