Macbeth, By William Shakespeare, In This Essay I Discuss The Role Of The Witches And The Supernatural In The Play

1147 words - 5 pages

MacbethThe title of the drama I am going to discuss is "The Tragedy of Macbeth" written by William Shakespeare. In this essay I am going to discuss the crucial importance of the role of the witches and the supernatural in the play.Three witches appearing on the road, confront battle weary Macbeth, Thane of Glames, a noble warrior on his way home. They prophesise that he will become king and then leave as unexpectedly as they appeared. A few days later, consumed by the concept of being king, Macbeth murders King Duncan. The malicious and diabolical prophecies of the witches eventually lead Macbeth to his untimely death.In present day, the idea of witchcraft and the supernatural is often confined to fiction and the fantastical. However in Macbeth's time these ideas were more acceptable and the existence of witches was more commonly acknowledged.The opening scene of the play is particularly significant as it establishes the atmosphere in which the main action will take place. The weather is appalling suggesting an unusual darkness and unhealthiness. The witches speak in a tongue not associated with ordinary men. Their use of rhyme is aligned to them throughout the play. In Act 1, Scene 1 they say 'Fair is foul, and foul is fair'. It is unusual as they are saying good is evil, and evil is good. How can that be so? It encourages the audience to see confusion and disorder. The witches are the first we hear mentioning Macbeth's name, this also arouses confusion and questioning as why would Macbeth have anything to do with these foul creatures? The witches seem to know the outcome of the battle before it is even over.In Act 1, Scene 3, the first line is Macbeth saying 'so foul and fair a day I have not seen'. This immediately associates him with the evil of the witches as it duplicates the witches chant 'Foul is fair, and fair is foul'. Whether Macbeth does this consciously or not arouses the reader's interest. The witches greet Macbeth as Thane of Glames, Thane of Cawdor and King to be. They also say that Banquo will produce heirs to the throne. Just after the witches disappear Ross and Angus arrive to announce that the king has bestowed the title of Thane of Cawdor upon Macbeth. When the prophecies are presented to Macbeth and Banquo their reactions differ. Macbeth seems frightened and uneasy, but Banquo remains calm and collected.In Act 2, Scene 1, Macbeth kills King Duncan, but just before this happens he sees an imaginary (or supernatural?) dagger in the air. This is evidence of the lasting effect the witches have on Macbeth's subconscious. Another concept is that it is Macbeth's guilty mind and overactive imagination that are dreaming up the dagger."Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle towards my hand?"Macbeth, Act 2, Scene 1In Act 2, Scene 4, Ross and an Old Man discuss the extraordinary incidents in the natural word and link them to the strange inhuman acts of that night. It gives a view of the incidents from an outside person, not...

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