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Essay On Macbeth And The Supernatural

Essay on Supernatural Forces in "Macbeth"

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The Play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare is shaped by supernatural forces with the use of the weird witches, the apparition of the ghost, and the floating dagger. These forces lead Macbeth to act in the way he did and add suspense to the play. The play opens with the three witches, and later on Macbeth and Banquo encounter them. They prophesized that Macbeth will be promoted to Thane of Cawdor, and then become King of Scotland. In addition to that, Banquo was told that his sons shall be kings, but never himself. Macbeth was skeptical about the prophesies, but until some of King Duncan’s men came to inform Macbeth that that he was to be named Thane of Cawdor due to the betrayal of the previous and condemned to death. Then Lady Macbeth…show more content…

If Macbeth didn’t know about this prophecy he would have happily took his position as Thane of Cawdor, but knowing he will be King drove him to commit murder. Macbeth was rapidly changed from an honorable general to an evil tyrant. “The witches did not tell him to commit murder; all that was necessary was for them to suggest the fact of the crown, and they could trust Macbeth to overcome the obstacles in his way just as they would have him” (Wiley, 45). This emphasizes the fact that the play is shaped by the supernatural. This lead to the murder of Duncan, then to get rid of his obstacles he kills the guards. The Witches also reveal “Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none” (1.3.67) to Banquo. This knowledge leads Macbeth to send Murderers to kill Banquo and his son. This is more evidence to show that the words of the witches construct the plays events. The witches play an important role they have the ability to predict the future and affect it too. Without their warnings and predictions Macbeth wouldn’t have chosen to act in the way he did. In their second appearance they prophesize that that he cannot be harmed by no one born of woman, a child with a crown represents Malcolm, and he’s warned about the moving Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane Hill. “But yet I’ll make assurance double sure, and take a bond of fate” (4.1.83-84).

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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.

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