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'...