Skip to content

Supernatural In Macbeth Essay

Analyzing the effects of the supernatural elements in Macbeth is a good approach to the play.  You might begin by looking at the witches' prophesies to Macbeth and Banquo at the beginning of the play.  The most important of these is the prophesy that Macbeth will become king and that Banquo's sons will be kings.

Predicting the future is a supernatural act, but mere humans make these prophesies come true.  Macbeth and Lady Macbeth,...

Analyzing the effects of the supernatural elements in Macbeth is a good approach to the play.  You might begin by looking at the witches' prophesies to Macbeth and Banquo at the beginning of the play.  The most important of these is the prophesy that Macbeth will become king and that Banquo's sons will be kings.

Predicting the future is a supernatural act, but mere humans make these prophesies come true.  Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, upon hearing the witches' prophecies (Lady Macbeth through her husband's letter), decide that it is Macbeth's fate to become king.  So they take the "near'st way" to this position by murdering Duncan.  It is Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's belief in the truth of the prophesies that propels them to murder.  Instead of letting the prophesies come true on their own, they make them happen. And, of course, Macbeth makes a very poor king indeed, creating chaos in all of Scotland.

You then might look at Macbeth's second encounter with the witches.  They again predict the future.  This time Macbeth's reaction is quite different.  Instead of acting to fulfill the prophesies, he acts to prevent them.   Macbeth now believes that he can change his fate.

So, you might view the witches as having several roles:  that of instigators, temptors, and prophets.  But clearly the decision to murder is Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's.

Nature And Supernatural In Macbeth Essay

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'...

Loading: Checking Spelling

0%

Read more

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 The Supernatural and its’ affect in the play Macbeth The supernatural has always fascinated and continues to intrigue mankind. In many of Shakespeare’s plays, he uses the supernatural to strengthen a particular scene or to influence the impression the audience has about someone or something. This was not strange or uncommon in Shakespeare’s time. In fact, during the 1500s, many people still believed in witches and witchcraft. Even in today’s...

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,...

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...

Macbeth and the Supernatural

742 words - 3 pages Supernatural elements are found on numerous occasions throughout Macbeth, and they significantly contribute to Macbeth’s decisions by convincing him that he will be king, that he is invincible, that his castle cannot be attacked, and that Macduff is his true enemy. The three witches in Macbeth represent the very essence if the supernatural. They constantly bend the truth and give prophecies to Macbeth about his future. For instance, in...

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 Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, imagery plays a key role in the audience's understanding of the theme of the play. One type of imagery that is prevalent in the story is supernatural or unnatural imagery. With the sense of the supernatural and interference of the spirits, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are led to dangerous, tempting things. Macbeth's character changes dramatically from the brave...

Supernatural Elements in Shakespeare's Macbeth

2532 words - 10 pages Consider the use that Shakespeare makes of supernatural elements in the play Macbeth. In the Shakespearean era, there was an eruption of superstition and alleged witchcraft. The people of that time had strong hatred for the ‘devil worshiping’ witches and had various trials and tests to determine their fate. Shakespeare used this as inspiration for his play ‘Macbeth’ We see the character of Macbeth go through a personality transformation after a...

Discuss the Supernatural in Macbeth.

3490 words - 14 pages According to the Oxford Advanced Learner dictionary, `supernatural' refers to things that cannot be explained by natural or physical laws. The presence of supernatural forces in "Macbeth," provides for much of the play's dramatic tension and the mounting suspense. In this paper we shall look at some of supernatural elements in the play. We'll first talk about the witches. Thunder occurs every time when the witches show up. In Act I sence i, it...

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

1101 words - 4 pages More to Macbeth than Fair and Foul       The statement "Fair is foul, and foul is fair" does not thoroughly express the many themes of Shakespeare's Macbeth.  The first time this statement occurs is very early in the play, when the witches chant the exact line "Fair is foul, and foul is fair"(I.i.12) only for Macbeth to repeat it himself two scenes later.  This repetition of the lines shows that the characters themselves believe that there...