Use of Supernatural Elements in Literature

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This essay explores the research question “In what ways does the use of supernatural elements in literature serve to reflect the nature of humanity?” and focuses on fairy tales, Hamlet, and Macbeth. It begins by outlining and examining the role of supernatural elements in promoting struggles between both the characters and groups within the plot. It then proceeds to showcase how using these elements to create struggles within the plot helps the author to outline the societal struggles of his or her time period within the work of literature. This essay then goes on to consider how and why the use of supernatural elements plays a role in a literary work’s adaptability over time and region. From there, this essay explores how important supernatural elements are in making the stories that they are a part of more intricate and interesting. The role of supernatural elements in aiding character development and the role of certain characters within the plot is examined afterwards. Supernatural elements – religious figures and activities, ghosts, witches, and anthropomorphized animals among others – have been used throughout the history of literature from its origins in oral folktales to Shakespeare’s plays to Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings series. Throughout the history of literature, supernatural elements have been useful in developing themes that reflect the nature of humanity. Supernatural elements are often used to outline and comment on conflict and power struggles: both within the plot of the work and within society at the time of the work’s publication. These otherworldly components are also commonly used to adapt, expand upon, and make a work of literature more applicable to its settings. Supernatural elements also play a r... ... middle of paper ... ...BBC. Web. 1 Oct 2013. Northrup, Mary. "Multicultural Cinderella Stories." Offices of the American Library Association. American Library Association, n.d. Web. 11 Sep 2013. Perrault, Charles. "Cinderella; or, The Little Glass Slipper." . N.p., 8 Oct 2003. Web. 1 Oct 2013. Pettegree, Andrew. "The English Reformation." BBC History. BBC, 17 Feb 2011. Web. 1 Oct 2013. Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007. Print. Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. New York: Spark Publishing, 2003. Print. Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. New York: Spark Publishing, 2003. Print. Zipes, Jack. Breaking the Magic Spell: Radical Theories of Folk & Fairy Tales. Revised and expanded ed. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1979. Print Zipes, Jack. Why Fairy Tales Stick: The Evolution and Relevance of a Genre. New York: Routledge, 2006. Print.
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