The Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

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The Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Macbeth The supernatural element of Macbeth is very important. Not only can it be used to terrify and entertain it is also contributes to the tragic aspect of the play and I consider it one of the main themes of the play. The supernatural element underpins the tragedy - if the witches hadn't made their prophesies to Macbeth then Macbeth wouldn't have killed Duncan, nor would he have ordered the death of Banquo. Neither would Lady Macbeth have wanted Duncan murdered nor gone insane, nobody would have died; there would have been no tragedy and no play. The time Shakespeare was writing Macbeth was a time of great superstition and suspicion of the supernatural. Most people did subscribe to the idea of the paranormal and most people were very scared of this. This is testified by the fact that Witchcraft was a crime punishable by death. The law passed in 1604 stated 'If any person shall use any invocation or conjuration of any evil or wicked spirit; or shall consult, covenant with, entertain, employ, feed or reward any evil or cursed spirit to or for any intent…that every such person being convicted shall suffer death." King James I himself believed very much in the supernatural and he even wrote a book about the subject entitled 'Daemonologie' or 'Demonology'. This book explores and discuses witchcraft, necromancy, possession, demons, were-wolves, fairies and ghosts. James was obsessed with witches and witchcraft and he was convinced that witches were out to get him. Witchcraft was in fact one of the main obsessions of the time. Audiences watching Macbeth at the time shared this belief an... ... middle of paper ... ...tive, it also intrigues the audience and they are left wanting to know more as Macbeth was. I would not show the apparitions to the audience, this way the audience would only know as much as Macbeth, thus maintaining the identification and achieving further fears and enjoyment. Despite society and what frightens society having changed considerably since Macbeth was written it can still be a very frightening play. Although the task of using the supernatural to entertain and terrify would have been easier to do for an Elizabethan audience it can still be used to do this for a contemporary audience. If an audience is willing to be scared and modern day technology such as lighting and sound are used effectively this task would be achieved and the audience would therefore be suitably scared and definitely entertained.
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