Nature And Supernatural In Macbeth Essay

2562 words - 10 pages

Use of Nature and Supernatural in Macbeth

    The aura of darkness, deception, and horror present in William Shakespeare's tragedy, Macbeth, envelopes the entire play and is created mainly by the sense of violence and foreboding that is evoked by the imagery.  The dominant images of nature and the supernatural contribute to the atmosphere of this tragedy.  The predictions of the weird sisters, along with natural forces and supernatural images, have lead to chaos in Scotland due to their impact on the characters of the play, which brings about many delusions and deaths.


Nature is an image brought up many times, in both physical and human aspects.  The storms made by the witches, consisting of heavy rains, lightning and thunder, cause darkness to lure over Scotland.  This darkness creates the atmosphere for the horrors that occur in the tragedy, which is seen by Duncan being killed at night and Banquo being killed in darkness, which is represented by he and Fleance entering with a torch.  The famous Romantic essayist, Thomas De Quincey, explains the purpose of this darkness phenomenon by saying that the "'world of darkness'" replaces the "'world of ordinary life'" after Macbeth kills Duncan (Harris and Scott, comp. 166).  Macbeth goes to the witches for a second time in a dark place, in which the darkness coincides with the horror that is yet to come.  The witches create other natural forces, in addition to storms and darkness, which is seen when they cause wind in order to blow a sailor's ship to an island and leave him shipwrecked to suffer and die.


The witches mainly represent the dominant image of the supernatural and are referred to as the "weird sisters", which means fate determining.  Shakespeare uses this term to insinuate that these witches determine the fate of all the horrors occurring throughout the tragedy. Some may argue that Macbeth possesses free will and therefore chooses himself to commit the murders.  It is the evilness and greed within his own human nature that persuades him, rather than it being the fate of the witches.  It is obvious though that the witches affect him because he does not think to kill Duncan until the witches inform him of his fate of being king.  According to William Dodge Lewis, a professor at Syracuse University, even Banquo becomes suspicious of Macbeth, thinking that he played foully for the witches' predictions to come about quicker (289).  The predictions influence Macbeth's actions to where he thinks to have Duncan in home not only as a guest, but as a victim as well.  It is so clear that even his best friend, Banquo, has gained suspicion that the witches have given Macbeth a motive for killing Duncan, and that he has carried out the deed for greedy and power driven reasons.  As said in the Macbeth article in Shakespearean Criticism, several critics feel that Macbeth is susceptible to external forces and is affected by the witches'...

Find Another Essay On Nature and Supernatural in Macbeth

Supernatural in Macbeth Essay

560 words - 2 pages Witches, murder and ghosts are all key elements to Shakespeare's Macbeth. Although all of the supernatural does not have exactly the same role in the play, the main purposes of the supernatural are to attract the attention of the reader, to foreshadow future events and to show or manipulate the characteristics of an individual. In the play Macbeth, the supernatural occurs with the witches appearing throughout the story, the strange behavior of

The Supernatural In Macbeth Essay

1924 words - 8 pages Macduff to fight and kill with a vengeance, which can be the deciding factor that separates Macduff and Macbeth. Hence, one can agree that the witches are the most significant element in the sense that they are seen as the most powerful figures that cause the destruction of Macbeth. The theme of supernatural in Macbeth is crucial and vital to the play. The weather, nature, the animals, Macbeth’s conscience and imagination, religion, ghosts, Hecate

Supernatural forces in Macbeth

758 words - 3 pages supernatural forces in MacbethIn the play 'Macbeth,' there were many interesting sections whichcould be concentrated on due to the suspense and the involvement of thesupernatural. The use of the supernatural in the witches, the visions, theghost, and the apparitions is a key element in making the concept of theplay work and in making the play interesting. Looking through each Act andScene of the play, it is noticed that the supernatural is

Supernatural Symbolism in Macbeth.

826 words - 3 pages Supernatural SymbolismThe supernatural events and elements that are placed into this book represent more than just something meant to scare the characters. It represents the evil that is inside of Macbeth, and lady Macbeth. The supernatural is also there to confuse and prove the guilabilty of humans, and how easily they are decieved by what they do not know. Shakespeare uses witches and hallucinations in his work to show the easy confusion on

Comparing the Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Macbeth

939 words - 4 pages Comparing the Supernatural in William Shakespeare's Hamlet and Macbeth             In the time of William Shakespeare there was a strong belief in the existence of the supernatural. Therefore, the supernatural is a recurring theme in many of Shakespeare's plays. In two such plays, Hamlet and Macbeth, the supernatural is an integral part of the structure of the plot. It provides a catalyst for action, an insight into character, and an

Supernatural Elements Displayed in Macbeth

585 words - 2 pages Supernatural Elements Displayed in Macbeth Writers of the Renaissance often wrote about supernatural elements. William Shakespeare was a writer during this period, and he is also the author of Macbeth. The supernatural elements are the key contributors to the play. They add fear and mystery to it. Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, displays many supernatural elements: the nature, ghosts, and the witches. People during the Renaissance were very

Supernatural Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth

846 words - 3 pages supernatural when he sees an apparition. On the night Macbeth and Lady Macbeth plan to kill Duncan, nature is acting very strangely. It is noticed that "tis unnatural" (2.4) and that "the moon is down," and "There's husbandry in heaven,/ their candles are all out" (2.1). As Macbeth awaits the signal to make his way to Duncan's chamber, he sees a floating dagger and proclaims, "Come, let me clutch thee./ I have thee not, and yet I see thee still

Supernatural Elements in Shakespeare's Macbeth

2532 words - 10 pages murder. Whilst seeing the dagger, Macbeth as well as convincing himself to carry out the murder, he calls to spirits and powerful supernatural figures such as Hecate, who appears later in the play, and Tarquin a famous roman tyrant. He calls them realising that he is doing what they have lead him to do. “Now o’er the one half-world, nature seems dead....witchcraft celebrates” he thinks witchcraft would be celebrating his surrender to their

Discuss the Supernatural in Macbeth.

3490 words - 14 pages Macbeth. The use of the supernatural occurs at the beginning of the play, with three witches predicting the fate of Macbeth. In Act I scene i, nature is out of order. "Fair is foul and foul is fair." According to the witches, it means good is bad and bad is good. It indicates that the witches are violating God's natural order because it is against our normal understanding of the words. The witches are evil in stead of being friends of humans

Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth - Beyond the Fair and Foul

1101 words - 4 pages is only skin deep, but the will to do evil is bone deep.  This does not mean that the witches are not foul at all.  In fact, witches are said to be the lovers of Satan, and they carry with them images of darkness and death. How could these supernatural beings not be described as foul?               Macbeth has been described as the "Most profound and mature vision of evil."  How can there be anything fair in a play based on evil, murder

Macbeth By William Shakespeare, Influence of the witches and supernatural in Macbeth

1024 words - 4 pages Macbeth is thought to have been first performed in 1606, for the visit of the Danish king to James I. It is therefore likely that not only was James I's Scottish ancestry reflected in the play, but also his interest in witchcraft and the supernatural. In order to please the king, Shakespeare made the influence of the supernatural element on both the course of Macbeth's downfall and the dramatic tension of the play significant.The fact that the

Similar Essays

Discuss The Nature And Significance Of The Supernatural In "Macbeth."

947 words - 4 pages realises that there is no way of escaping his troubled conscience but for extinguishing the lives of anyone who proves a threat to him, and this results in the murder of Lady Macduff and her son.Lady Macbeth's soliloquy prior to Duncan's death explores the nature of the supernatural and particularly "evil spirits". Possessed of evil passion, she calls on spirits to "unsex me (her) here", which is inhuman as though Lady Macbeth is controlled by a

Supernatural In Shakespeare's Macbeth Witches And Macbeth

1042 words - 4 pages The Witches and Macbeth       The belief in the existence and power of witches was widely believed in Shakespeare's day, as demonstrated by the European witch craze, during which an estimated nine million women were put to death for being perceived as witches (The Burning Times). The practice of witchcraft was seen to subvert the established order of religion and society, and hence was not tolerated. Witch hunting was a respectable, moral

The Supernatural In And Surrounding Macbeth

2377 words - 10 pages supernatural not only plays a part in the plot, but it is the point that allows the plot to move onward.The supernatural is defined as anything that does not comply with the laws of nature; anything magical or mystical. Therefore the supernatural refers to encounters with ghosts or demons, witchcraft and the occult, foreseeing the future, a 'sixth sense' type of feeling, seeing things and much more. Macbeth deals with all of these aspects at one

Fate And The Supernatural In Macbeth

1049 words - 4 pages What will, and will not, happen in the future can never be known for certain, but what if the possibility was available? Believable or not, Shakespeare portrays the role of fate in Macbeth and the significance of the supernatural. In the play, Macbeth is given prophecies concerning his fate from the weird sisters, three witches who represent the supernatural throughout the play. Macbeth’s belief in the witches’ prophecies leads him to