William Shakespeare's Dramatic Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth
Be sure to include the witches, the dagger, Banquo's ghost, the
apparitions and the Old man.
There are many themes in Macbeth like ambition, loyalty and hypocrisy
but Shakespeare has used the theme of the supernatural to create
dramatic emphasis and suspicion. He has used the witches, dagger,
Banquo's ghost, the apparitions and the old man to create to add an
element of the supernatural to Macbeth.
Throughout the play the witches create a sense of mystery. The opening
scene is significant because it puts the audience in fear.
'Fair is foul, and foul is fair'
This quote by the three witches is echoed throughout the play and
shows a sense of evil.
Macbeths opening line 'So foul and fair a day I have not seen echoes
the witches words and is significant because he is already in tune
with their way of thinking and you know that he will be depending on
the witches a lot throughout the play.
The witches can tell the future which tempts Macbeth to go back to
them. On their first meeting, Macbeth is present with Banquo, the
witches tell Macbeth three prophecies and he is initially stunned. The
witches claim that Macbeth will
'All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis'
'All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor
'All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter.'
These prophecies introduce Macbeth to ideas of greatness. Just as the
witches are about to explain how they know these things, they vanish
and Macbeth is eager to hear more of this 'strange intelligence.'
'Stay, you imperfect speakers. Tell me more.'
Macbeth wants the witches to stay because they are saying exactly what
he wants to hear.
However it can also be said that the witches do not control Macbeth or
anyone else in the play. The person has to choose there own destiny
and Macbeth chooses to commit murders in order to get what he wants.
'And which is worse, all you have done
Hath been but for a wayward son.'
This quote said be Hecate suggests that Macbeth planned his own
destiny and the witches did not make him do anything. The witches do
not tell Macbeth to kill Duncan or commit any other murders he does
this by himself with the help of Lady Macbeth who tempts him so she
can become queen.
'To alter favour ever is to fear.
Leave all the rest to me.'
One murder leads to another and Macbeth feels that everyone is out to
get him. This motivates him to meet the witches again who tell Macbeth
3 prophecies: that he should fear Macduff, he cannot be harmed by one
born of a woman and that he is secure until Birnan Wood comes to
Throughout the play the witches appear and warn, predict and tempt
Macbeth but in the end it was Macbeth who chose to commit all the