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The Importance Of The Supernatural In Macbeth By William Shakespeare

4513 words - 18 pages

The Importance of the Supernatural in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

The supernatural is to play an essential part in the play 'Macbeth';
this is made clear from the first paragraph of the play, when the
three witches are introduced. It is represented in many different
forms, mainly: the witches, the dagger and the ghost of Banquo.
Shakespeare's use of imagery and creative language in the play creates
tension, fear and clearly displays the importance of the supernatural
theme.

At the start of the play, the supernatural is disguised in the form of
nature, in this case a storm. Shakespeare uses pathetic fallacy to
describe the strong force of nature- "Thunder and lightning - Enter
three Witches." This creates a feeling of unrest and tension in the
audience, as we can tell that the supernatural is going to be used in
the representation of evil. Shakespeare constantly describes the
weather - "The mist thins", which gives a vivid picture of the scenery
and atmosphere.

The gloomy, dark side of nature and the weather is always referred to;
it seems that Shakespeare is trying to show how the weather is in
union with the Witches, covering and hiding them when they wish to be
unnoticed- "They stop suddenly, and a mist hides them. Enter Macbeth
and Banquo." "The mist thickens." Here, the mist is thickening to hide
the witches from Macbeth and Banquo, showing how mysterious and
unpredictable the weather and the supernatural really is. In Act 1,
scene 3, the Witches tell us how they are going punish an innocent
man, by conjuring a storm from the depths of the sea with their
powers, to sink him and his ship- "I'll give thee a wind." The witches
are using or taking advantage of the natural forces to destroy and
commit destructive, evil deeds. In Act 1scene 5, Lady Macbeth
describes how she hopes the weather will be for when she commits
Duncan's murder- "Come thick night and pall thee in the dunnest smoke
of hell…Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark." She is using
the weather as a means of covering up her evil actions; she wants the
night to hide her, so that neither she nor anyone else can see the
wound the knife makes. Shakespeare uses personification to describe
the nature around them- "Nature seems dead." The nature is given a
human form, as though it is a victim of the supernatural itself. In
Act 2 scene 1, Macbeth talks to the ground, as if it could hear him,
suggesting it is part of the supernatural, and is going to disguise
his treacherous footsteps- " Thou sure and firm-set earth, hear not my
steps…" This creates tension, as Macbeth is talking as if the ground
can hear him, showing how the supernatural has easily affected him and
made him wary.

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AQA (syllabus B)

GCSE English/Literature:

Pre-1900 Drama- 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare

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