The Supernatural In And Surrounding Macbeth

2377 words - 10 pages

The supernatural tends to play a large part in many of Shakespeare's plays. From The Tempest to Hamlet, different supernatural themes are explored and presented to further the plot along. The supernatural plays n extremely large and important role in Macbeth. In Macbeth, there are instances of witchcraft, hallucinations, and even ghosts. But what exactly is the supernatural and how does it move the plot? By examining the play we can see that the 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 or more points throughout.The first instance of supernatural activity is in the opening scene when we are introduced to the three witches or "Weird Sisters" as they are called later on. Right away it is made clear that there is something evil and unnatural about these women. Their familiars seem to be calling to them and this is the first aspect of the witches we get to see. Familiars are attendants that allow one to perform black magic. Since these women have familiars it is safe to say that they are members of the occult. These witches reappear throughout the play and offer predictions and magic whereby becoming much more important to the plot.Such is the case in act one scene three when Macbeth meets these Weird Sisters. The witches offer Macbeth news of what is in his future. Macbeth, who is already Thane of Glamis is told that he will also become Thane of Cawdor and that he "shalt be king hereafter" (50). Clearly these witches must be wrong, for both of these men still live. But were these predictions, or just an attempt to overthrow Scotland's powerful men through Macbeth. The first prediction has to be just that, a prediction. There is no way these women could have known that Macbeth will become Thane of Cawdor without being able to see into the future. But the news of Macbeth becoming king is a little more questionable. It is possible that the witches wanted to do away with the king and were hoping that by telling Macbeth he would become king that it would stir him into action to murder Duncan, the current king of Scotland. It's almost as if they were feeding into his ambitions. But this theory raises further questions. If they witches wanted Duncan dead, why didn't they just curse him or kill him themselves? As doers of evil, it was probably much more fun to watch a man deteriorate and wreak havoc.Macbeth is clearly startled and aghast at this news. He starts questioning the witches, demanding answers to which they reply by leaving him "as [breathes] into the wind" (82). This now becomes our third instance of the supernatural: vanishing into thin air....

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