Use of Supernatural Elements in Literature Essay example

Use of Supernatural Elements in Literature Essay example

Length: 3356 words (9.6 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Research Papers

Open Document

Essay Preview

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.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

The Use of Supernatural Elements in Shakespeare's Hamlet and Kyd's the Spanish Tragedy

- Discuss the usage and effects that the supernatural elements have in both Kyd's `The Spanish Tragedy' and Shakespeare's Hamlet. Ghosts or supernatural beings feature both in The Spanish Tragedy, written by Thomas Kyd, in 1587, and in Hamlet, written by William Shakespeare, in 1601. Ghosts and the supernatural `remind the characters and the audience of the constraints the past places on the present, and also the obligations the living bear to the departed' . There were many superstitions surrounding these entities during Elizabethan times....   [tags: Comparative Literature]

Research Papers
1172 words (3.3 pages)

Shirley Jackson: The Embodiment of the Supernatural Essay

- The supernatural cannot be explained by logic nor reasoning, neither can it be studied by science, since the intangible force that controls the supernatural cannot be measured or controlled by the intellect. Shirley Jackson expressed “interest in superstition, and the supernatural” as a child; her interest in the occult led Jackson to become a practicing witch, Lenemaja Friedman Professor of English Literature confirms this in her book Shirley Jackson (Friedman 19). Jackson critics, felt that her stories were the works of a twisted mind, because of this “Jackson downplayed the single real-life parallel to her fiction — her personal study and practice of witchcraft” in order to debunk the cr...   [tags: superstition, supernatural, novels]

Research Papers
1627 words (4.6 pages)

Occult and Supernatural Elements in "Macbeth" Essay

- Although Macbeth is not classed as being a supernatural play or a play of the occult, there are some elements in the play that Shakespeare uses to effect. It is necessary however, to define what is meant by the terms ‘occult’ and ‘supernatural’: the term ‘occult’ is defined as being ‘supernatural beliefs, practises or phenomenon’ and the term ‘supernatural’ is defined as being ‘attributed to some force beyond scientific understanding or the laws of nature’; both these terms can be associated with gothic writing....   [tags: Shakespearean Literature]

Research Papers
1390 words (4 pages)

Essay about Elements of Southern Gothic Literature

- Elements of Southern Gothic Literature Literature comes in all types of styles and one type is Southern Gothic. But what makes a story develop into this type of Southern Gothic style. There are many characteristics that are apparent in literature, so what conditions are distinct that would give them the term Southern Gothic literature. What kind of elements do we call for when trying to find this type of literature. Southern Gothic is a literature that has a style all its own. It has it unique elements such as being Southern based (characters or place), then we have characters with these righteous attitudes, and then it would not be Gothic without a tragedy....   [tags: Literature Analysis]

Research Papers
1294 words (3.7 pages)

Essay about Is Literature Still Relevant To Reality?

- Is literature still relevant to 'reality'. A lot of people seem to think not. I've met more than a few people who think that movies can tell as great a story as books can. But are movies as good as books. At some level it comes down to personal preference. Now some film has been considered to be literature by many people; but does great film have the same power as great words. What does separate the written word from other forms of art. Literature has this ability to force readers to use their imaginations in a way that a lot of things can't....   [tags: Literature]

Research Papers
1054 words (3 pages)

Essay on Shakespeare's Use of the Supernatural in "Macbeth"

- The supernatural was a popular element in many of the plays written in Shakespeare's time (including Hamlet) and everyone of Shakespeare's time found the supernatural fascinating. Even King James I took a special interest in supernatural and written a book, Daemonologie, on witchcraft. It must be remembered that, in Shakespeare's day, supernatural referred to things that were "above Nature"; things which existed, but not part of the normal human life and unexplainable. The play Macbeth involves many supernatural actions that act as a catalyst for suspense and thrill, insight into character, foreshadowing of future events as well as making connections with the theme....   [tags: European Literature]

Research Papers
858 words (2.5 pages)

Essay Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth - Supernatural Forces

- The Supernatural in Macbeth      In Macbeth, there are many sections that refer to the involvement of the supernatural.  The use of the supernatural in the script, the witches, the visions, the ghost of Banquo, and the apparitions, are key elements making the concept of the play work and in making the play interesting.  Witches, spirits, ghosts and apparitions are a major factor in developing the play.               The use of the supernatural occurs at the beginning of the play, with three witches predicting the fate of Macbeth.  This gives the audience a clue to what the future holds for Macbeth....   [tags: GCSE English Literature Coursework]

Research Papers
769 words (2.2 pages)

The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Works Essays

- The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Works No one questions the fact that William Shakespeare is a pure genius when it comes to creating immortal characters whose characteristics transcends those of the normal supernatural beings, but most students of literature agree that his uses of the supernatural aren’t merely figments of his creative imagination. Every man, woman, and child is influenced by the age into which they are born and Shakespeare was no exception. Not only does his use of supernatural elements within his works reveal the Elizabethans’ obsession with mythical beliefs, but it also reveals his attitude toward these beliefs at different points of his writing career....   [tags: William Shakespeare English Literature Essays]

Research Papers
1740 words (5 pages)

Essay on Discuss the Supernatural in Macbeth.

- According to the Oxford Advanced Learner dictionary, `supernatural' refers to things that cannot be explained by natural or physical laws. The presence of supernatural forces in "Macbeth," provides for much of the play's dramatic tension and the mounting suspense. In this paper we shall look at some of supernatural elements in the play. We'll first talk about the witches. Thunder occurs every time when the witches show up. In Act I sence i, it indicates the theme of discorder. When the witches enter, there is stormy weather....   [tags: European Literature]

Research Papers
2552 words (7.3 pages)

Essay on Supernatural Worlds In "The Jungle Books" and "A Christmas Carol"

- "I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The spirits of all Three shall strive within me. Oh Jacob Marley. Heaven, and the Christmas Time be praised for this. I say it on my knees, old Jacob; on my knees!" (Dickens, 99) Ebenezer Scrooge, the main hero of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, says these words after one night passing in the supernatural world. They are evidence of his miraculous metamorphosis under the influence of supernatural force, his transformation from a man who loves only money and himself, who hardly believes in God, and whose favorite word is "Humbug!" to a man who becomes "as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the gold old city [knows...   [tags: Comparative Literature]

Research Papers
1148 words (3.3 pages)