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How Does Shakespeare Exploit The Supernatural For Dramatic Effect In Macbeth

1514 words - 6 pages

The play begins in a 'desolate place' as the stage directions tell us. Shakespeare uses the pathetic fallacy of 'Thunder and Lightening.' This creates an atmosphere of dark and evil and anticipates something frightening. There are three witches, casting a spell, as Shakespeare shows through the use of rhyming couplets at the end of lines. In addition to this, he uses the syntatic parralelism to suggest that everything is not what it will seem. 'Fair is foul and foul is fair.' This warns the audience so that they can make predictions of what will happen in 'Macbeth.'

A Jacobean audience and Shakespeare?s contemporaries believed in the supernatural very strongly, including the king of that time, King James I of England. They would be intrigued by the witches? predictions in ?Macbeth,? as well as the witches? costumes on stage being scary to them. Nowadays, witches aren?t thought of as an avatar of the devil, so it would take a different kind of witch to interest a modern audience, one that challenges stereotypes.

In the next scene Macbeth is shown to be fighting agaisnt the Norweigen army single handedly, showing imense bravery. Therefore, the juxtaposition between Scene I and Scene II, in Act I, is evil and good, the complete opposites. The opening scene of the play is a future prediction about the battle between good and evil and ?Fair is foul and foul is fair.?

In Act I Scene III Macbeth meets the witches upon a heath. The witches predict that Macbeth is going to become Thane of Cawdor and they ?hail Macbeth, that shalt be King Hereafter!? Later on in the scene Ross and Angus enter to tell Macbeth he is to become Thane of Cawdor. This instance of dramatic irony encourages Macbeth to believe that the witches might have been telling the truth. This in turn influences the plot of the play. As, for the next prediction to come true, King Duncan must be killed for Macbeth to stand a chance of being King. Shakespreare uses Act I Scene III as a way of creating a focus on Macbeth, the plot to get rid of King Duncan and then concentrating on Macbeth?s life after the murder. Scene II and Scene III in Act I juxtapose two different sides of Macbeth?s character. In Scene II Macbeth is shown to be brave and good. In Scene III Macbeth is shown differently, especially as he uses ?Foul and Fair? and interrogatives to try to get information from the witches. In this scene Macbeth is shown to be linked to the supernatural, showing an evil side of him.

In Act IV Scene I Macbeth decides to seek out the witches for himself. He decides to do this because of the appearance of Banquo?s ghost in Act III scene IV. The witches call up three apparitions to predict Macbeth?s future. The first apparition warns Macbeth of Macduff?s presence. The second apparition is ?a bloody child? telling Macbeth that, ?none of woman born shall harm him.? This brings Macbeth confidence and he becomes sinister and evil, wanting to...

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