The supernatural in Macbeth

Authors Avatar

The supernatural in Macbeth

  The Witches, also known as the Weird Sisters, are part of the supernatural element of the play. Without them, the play would surely not have taken the path that it did for either Macbeth, nor Lady Macbeth would have been driven, by greed and lust for the crown, to the extent of murder and regicide. Although the witches only feature in a few scenes, their presence is essential and they are the characters who drive Macbeth to the position of King and eventually to his death. In the following I will assess the roles that the witch play and decide how important they actually were.

   Firstly, the appearance of the witches, give us a better idea of their character. They are described as having "choppy fingers, skinny lips and beards." When Banquo meets them, he says "That not look like the inhabitants o'th'Earth and yet are on it?" He says they look imaginary and when they disappear, he describes them as "bubbles of the Earth" Clearly they are going to influence Macbeth's life in a 3.major way.

   The witches also speak in riddles and paradoxes. They make it purposefully hard to understand the truth about what they mean. Some examples are "Fair is foul and foul is fair" (implying all good is bad and all bad is good) Another example is when a witch says, "When a battle's lost and won" Later on in the story, we realise that nearly everything the witches do and say have some effect on the mortals in the play. For example, Macbeth later says, "So fair and foul a day, I have not seem" which seems very much like the quote described earlier. To certify my point, the King says "What he hath lost noble Macbeth hath won” This phrase proves that the witches are laying an important part in everyone's life.

Join now!


   After the witches reveal the future to Macbeth, about him becoming the thane of Cawdor and King, it has an impact on both Macbeth and his wife. Moments after the witches leave, Macbeth portrays his first act of deceit when he says to Banquo, "Let us speak our free hearts to each other" He is turning into a more cunning character like the witches are because he is under their influence.

   Lady Macbeth is influence by witches. Examples of her wanting to loose her feminine attributes and become more like a man, so she doesn't feel remorse, ...

This is a preview of the whole essay

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

At GCSE level, many students struggle to move away from using the first person in their essays. There is no need to say: "In the following I will assess" or "In my opinion". It is much stronger to conclude by saying "The evident makes it clear that" or another similar phrase. Grammar doesn't flow in some places, but a strong part of this candidate's essay is the signposting of each paragraph. It is clear what point they are about to explain - a possible improvement could be fewer paragraphs which explain the points further.

The analysis could be much stronger in this essay. Although they are able to choose quotes which support their arguments well, they do not comment on the language or imagery used by Shakespeare to present their supernatural nature. As with a lot of GCSE essays, this piece does not show much understanding that Macbeth is a play: if it discussed the stage presence of the witches and the horror of the audience, the analysis would be much stronger. Similarly, this essay does not refer to Shakespeare once. Without acknowledging that Shakespeare is constructing the play, having the witches say the quotes for a reason, the essay does not flow naturally into explaining what the effect is and why certain quotes were used. Due to this, this essay narrates quite regularly, simply telling the story.

Although this essay title doesn't offer a clear topic to discuss, this essay does well in the introduction by focusing on the role of the supernatural and its importance in the play. Throughout the essay the importance is discussed, and is evident in the conclusion when the piece discusses the effect on Lady Macbeth and Macbeth. It is nice to see a clear focus throughout the essay, not diverging into unnecessary context!