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The Supernatural in Macbeth

analytical Essay
3367 words
3367 words
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The Supernatural in Macbeth

More than a few elements of the supernatural can be discovered within the action and dialogue of Shakespeare's plays. However, the extent and nature of those elements differs to a large degree. There are traces of it to be found in Henry V, "Pardon, gentles all,/The flat unraised spirit that hath dar'd...to bring forth/So great and object" (Lucy 1). There are also elements of it apparent in Winter's Tale, "What I did not well I meant well" (Lucy 1). The supernatural is used most fearsomely in Hamlet, with the ghost of Hamlet's father representing the most frightening apparition in all of the Bard's plays. However, the supernatural is used to an almost whimsical degree in A Midsummer's Night Dream and The Tempest. In both of these plays the supernatural does not assume an evil demeanor, though it does wreak havoc on the lives of those in its midst. Yet, the supernatural is connected more with a generic nature of chance than one that is pure evil as in Macbeth or pure "foul and most unnatural" as it is in Hamlet (Shakespeare 1078).

In A Midsummer's Night Dream there is a great deal of mirth and whimsy and the supernatural elements are more of a mischievous variety than any kind of sinister entities. For example, in keeping with the humorous order of the day within the play, Shakespeare gives us elements of the supernatural that add to the mood and theme of the piece. For instance, we see supernatural forces in characters like Oberon, "a spirit of another sort", lord of the Realm of Dreams who represents the "white light of dawn" (Lucy 8). Queen Mab and a host of faeries also inhabit this realm of mortals who would be fools. The overall effect o...

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Bloom, H. Shakespeare: The Invention Of The Human. Riverhead Books, NY: 1998.

Hodara, S. "A Midsummer Night's Dream." http://web.syr.edu/~shodara/midsummer.html Dec. 20, 1998: 1-6.

Lucy, M. "Shakespeare And The Supernatural." http://www.mwsc.edu/~eng368/summer97/public/7.24.97-10.55.59.html Dec. 20, 1998: 1-13.

Noda, M. "Weird Creatures And Weird Imagination." http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/6630/macbeth.htm Dec. 20, 1998: 1-3.

Shakespeare, W. The Complete Works Of Shakespeare. Gramercy Book, NY: 1975.

In this essay, the author

  • Analyzes how the supernatural can be found in shakespeare's plays, but the extent and nature of those elements differs to a large degree. the supernatural is used most fearsomely in hamlet.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare uses supernatural elements to enhance the mood and tone of a midsummer's night dream.
  • Analyzes how the supernatural elements in the tempest are more threatening and frightful than the jovial ones of a midsummer night's dream, but they are whimsical because they represent nature and seem to play capriciously with men
  • Analyzes how the supernatural is instrumental in macbeth's fall because it represents the dark or evil side of man.
  • Compares shakespeare's inspiration for many if not all of his plays, including macbeth, to other sources about the infamous thane of cawdor.
  • Explains the use of the supernatural in drama. it is used to create audience excitement as special affects are used in the cinema and add suspense to the story.
  • Analyzes how the witches and supernatural elements in macbeth use foreshadowing to evoke fear and thoughts of evil in the audience.
  • Analyzes how macbeth is personally affected by the witches more than banquo because they appear to be not of this realm. their appearance adds to the evil mood of the play from the beginning and throughout its action.
  • Analyzes how the witches are capable of wreaking havoc on men's lives. macbeth sees them as a means of confidence and affirmation.
  • Analyzes how the supernatural and weird sisters symbolize the tragedy of the play and macbeth's weakness.
  • Analyzes how lady macbeth's evil influence has as much effect on him as the evil witches.
  • Analyzes how macbeth's character isn't strong enough to fight off his o'erleaping ambition or the evil forces around him.
  • Opines that macbeth is too reckless in his ambition and too murderous for any such second-guessing to matter. the witches have been successful in taking advantage of his weak nature and his soul is close to fading
  • Analyzes how shakespeare uses the supernatural as a symbol of truth and nature in all of his plays.
  • Explains that in macbeth the educated man would trace the workings of the mind, follow the tortured soul in all its windings, and shadow the chain of vents which must follow, given certain conditions.
  • Opines that the emotionally-strung or emotional would fully enter into the psychological struggle before which when the heavens see, they tremble and are still.
  • Analyzes how the ignorant, whose perceptions are all underdeveloped, would observe in the weird sisters, the impersonation of those vices with which the morality plays had made him familiar.
  • Analyzes how even the indifferent subject could not fail to be impressed, though, to his mental vacuity, the finer meaning would be greek.
  • Analyzes how shakespeare's use of the supernatural is relevant not only to the action within the play, but also the audience outside of it.
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