The Role of the Supernatural in Motivating Characters Essay

The Role of the Supernatural in Motivating Characters Essay

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In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the supernatural and the role they play in motivating characters is apparent throughout the duration of the play. The supernatural is what causes conflict in the play and the prophecies from the witches in act one scene three is the inciting action in the piece. The supernatural causes the future conflict by motivating Macbeth to kill Duncan so he could become king of Scotland. Through temptation, the supernatural motivates characters to think arrogantly and for their own benefit. The supernatural in Macbeth presents prophecies which tempt Macbeth and Banquo with the idea of power. This leads Macbeth to contradict his loyal and courageous personality by planning a treacherous murder on Duncan with the arrogant intention of becoming king and later killing other characters in the play with the only purpose of keeping his own powers. Both Macbeth and Banquo were also tempted by the original prophecies and showed clear motivation to act upon them. However, there is a clear contrast between the immediacy in which the two characters began taking actions and the logic put into their decisions.
Macbeth shifts from being loyal and courageous to a murderer executing a treacherous plan to kill the current king due to supernatural suggestions that he would be king himself. Macbeth is discussed as a man worthy of recognition by other characters in act one scene two. In this scene, the Captain states: “For brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name)” (1. 2. 18). Macbeth is being praised for his courage and loyalty to Scotland and the king. This first impression is hastily contrasted after hearing the prophecy of the witches stating he will be “king hereafter” (1. 3. 53). Immediately after hearing this, Macbet...

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...gicality and eagerness which leads his arrogant action to result in his demise. Banquo is much more wary about the prophecies given to both Macbeth and Banquo that appear to be really good for both of them. Macbeth is motivated by the gratifying appearance of the prophecies to act upon the possibility of the prophecies coming true. This gives him a false sense of security because he is tempted with the fact that these prophecies could quite possibly be the truth. This is want ultimately gives Macbeth the motivation to execute his arrogant actions. He is under the impression that his actions could in no way fail because the supernatural tells him he will get the power he seeks.

Works Cited
Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed. Barbara A. Mowat and Paul Werstine. New York: Folger Shakespeare Library, 1992. Print.

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