The Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Macbeth
In Macbeth the supernatural is used to entertain and terrify the
audience. Supernatural things are those that do not belong in the
natural world. In Elizabethan times, people were so terrified of the
supernatural because they believed that there was a natural order
which effectively governed the universe, and when this order was
misaligned things would start to go very wrong. For instance, were a
Thane to kill a king and then become king, he would have changed the
natural order and thus strange things would happen, and in Macbeth
they did – horses started eating each other and weather became very
irregular. Today we are not terrified in the same way by the
The supernatural plays a huge role in the play of Macbeth. There are many different types of supernatural occurrences that take place in this play such as with witches, apparitions, and hallucinations. The supernatural affect all of the characters in the play in different ways, their different personalities often lead to different outcomes then were possibly intended.
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).
Shakespeare's Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth
The supernatural is widely used in Macbeth, and covers major sections
of it. It is used to generate interest, and to provoke thought and
At the time the play was written, James the 1st was the English
monarch. James the 1st was originally James the 4th on the Scottish
throne, until there was a union of crowns between England and Scotland
in the late 16th century. Shakespeare wrote the play for him, so the
play Macbeth is popularly known as 'the Scottish play'.
The supernatural is arguably one of the most prominent things that fuels Macbeth’s unchecked ambition throughout the play. In fact, the very thing that began his journey into insanity was his conversation with the three witches and Banquo in Act 1, scene 3. The witches said “All hail, Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter!”, and if he hadn’t of met or listened to the witches then his fate could’ve possibly been avoided altogether. Banquo in contrast didn’t listen to the witches, and if Macbeth had done the same then neither of them would have died. Of course Macbeth’s downfall can’t be entirely blamed on the witches or the supernatural in general. The supernatural wouldn’t have affected him in the first place if he hadn’t been too prideful and gullible to begin with.
Many plays by William Shakespeare have a reoccurring aspect of the supernatural; presenting itself never in an evil demeanor, though it does wreak havoc on the lives amongst it.
21 December 2017
Influential Characters in Macbeth
The author Napoleon Hill once said, “Without a doubt, the most common weakness of all human beings is the habit of leaving their minds open to the negative influence of other people”(Napoleon Hill, Az quotes). One should be careful of the people they decide to surround themselves with because they could influence you while having a hidden agenda that could impact your life negatively. In Macbeth by William Shakespeare, the reader is introduced to the supernatural and Lady Macbeth. The supernatural deliver prophecies throughout the play to Macbeth.
No fear Shakespeare: Macbeth remains relevant as it deals with themes that span time and the fact that it can be presented in different ways to meet the interest of any audience, this is because it shows Ambition, Power and Natural vs. Supernatural. These three images can be relevant today as well.
The Supernatural in Macbeth
Everyone has a slightly different interpretation of the supernatural but the interpretation which we can start with is Shakespeare’s. Everyone of Shakespeare’s time found the supernatural fascinating. Shakespeare interpreted the supernatural as witches, magic, unnatural and evil and he expressed his beliefs in the play, “Macbeth” very clearly, as he portrayed the three deformed women with control over the weather and the ability to predict the future. These three evil witches with magical powers were the creation of Shakespeare’s interpretation of the supernatural. Shakespeare’s contemporaries believed in the supernatural very strongly and a majority of them were frightened of it, including the king of that time, King James I of England.
Influence of the Witches and Lady Macbeth
The last person you would expect to encourage you to commit a crime would be your wife. Macbeth is motivated by his wife and by three Witches and gradually becomes more ruthless, evil, and murderous as the play progresses.
Lady Macbeth is first introduced in Act1 Scene 5: reading a letter receives from Macbeth describing the encounter with the Witches, and the prophecies which they given him. Lady Macbeth is very ambitious; believes that Macbeth is too kind and loyal to take the steps needed to become king. "