The Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

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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 supernatural. People today are not scared of witches, evil spirits and hell, or at least not as much as the Elizabethans. However, we do share a fear of murder, hallucinations, madness and manipulation; which all play a large part in the telling of Macbeth. The witches in Macbeth are exactly what the Elizabethans would have expected them to be, scary and unnatural. Set against a dramatic backdrop of “Thunder and lightning” these witches can tell the future (“there to meet with Macbeth”) speak in paradox (“when the battle’s lost and won” “fair is foul and foul is fair”) and have familiars, spirits who take on animal forms to aid their masters in their evil doing (“I come, Greymalkin!”). They even talk in a different rhythm from other characters, using trochaic meter – which is the opposite rhythm from a heartbeat and speak in tetrameter rather than pentameter as the other characters do. and of course, worship the goddess of wit... ... middle of paper ... ... Scene 2) “How now my lord? Why do you keep alone, of sorriest fancies your companions making using those thoughts which should indeed have died with them they think on? Things without remedy should be without regard. What’s done is done.” In conclusion, modern and Elizabethan audiences are not frightened or entertained in the same way by the supernatural. Elizabethans were genuinely frightened by witches and spirits and today we are not, though Elizabethans and modern audiences are entertained by witches and spirits. However, madness, hallucinations, manipulation and murder are still as frightening today as they ever were, and are not in any way entertaining because they could happen to us. The Macbeths were normal people with ambition and because of one stupid “prophecy” their lives were ruined by the witches.
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