The Effect Of The Supernatural Upon Events

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The Effect Of The Supernatural Upon Events In Shakespeare’s Macbeth Essay, Research Paper Macbeth Coursework ? Got a GRADE A At the time Shakespeare wrote Macbeth, people were interested in the idea of the supernatural and the unknown. It would have been a hot conversational topic of the day in the late 16th century, with most folks being very suspicious of things of this nature. This seems to be one of the reasons why Shakespeare chose to write a play about this particular theme. Another reason would be that the playwright knew his work would be performed in front of King James; the King was of Scottish heritage and it would be pleasing to him to recognise actual place names used in the play. Scotland as a country is complimented throughout the play: ?This castle hath a

pleasant seat. The air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses.? (A. 1, S. 6) Also, the King had just narrowly escaped death from the Gunpowder Plot headed by Catholic Guy Fawkes, and as King James was a firm believer in the Divine Right Of Kings and The Great Chain of Being (where the King was supposedly directly below God Himself) it seems Shakespeare wanted to flatter the King by reinforcing these themes, even though it would obviously have been a very sensitive issue of the time, the Plot not having been foiled one year ago before Shakespeare wrote the play. In addition to this, the King, as well as his subjects, was firmly interested in the supernatural himself, even writing a book titled ?Daemonologie? on it. Shakespeare seems to have gone to great

lengths in the play to impress the King through all these devices. It seems to have worked too ? rumour has it that the King liked the play so much after it was performed that he even went to the trouble of sending a thank you letter to Shakespeare for writing such a good play. The main themes in Macbeth all link up to what affect the Witches and the supernatural have on the people in the play. Right from the very start, before the Witches have spoken, the pathetic fallacy of the stormy weather reflecting the evil and good forces about to collide show straight away that the play is dramatic and grabs the attention of the audience. Shakespeare makes the Witches? intentions clear to us as soon as the Witches speak, that they?re about to meet with Macbeth. We also see at the same

time how evil they are; we hear about what the Witches have been doing to others and what revenge they?d like to take out on people who have angered them. For example, a sailor?s wife offend one witch and the witch responds by drawing out a plan of attack on her husband: ?Her husband?s to Aleppo gone?I?ll thither sail? I?ll do, I?ll do, and I?ll do.? (A. 1, S. 3, L. 10) From this, we know what the Witches? mean to do. They are interested in the corruption of good people and it seems Macbeth is a prime candidate for their attention; at the beginning of the play Macbeth is seen as ?brave?, ?valour?s minion,? and a ?valiant cousin? (A. 1, S. ?) until his utter corruption at the end of the play when he?s seen as a ?bloody butcher.? The Witches mean to lead Macbeth astray and by

prophesising what they do to him and Banquo they know they can goad his ego and ambition into actually carrying out acts to fill out the future they saw, acts which Macbeth wouldn?t have had the guts to otherwise. One thing that affects Macbeth greatly early on in the play is that one of the prophecies he hears from the Witches comes true, when he is greeted as the Thane Of Cawdor. ?I know I am Thane of Glamis, but how of Cawdor?? (A. 1, S. 3, Ls. 71/72) Shortly after meeting the Witches he receives news of the betrayal of the King by the original Cawdor Thane and sees that he now has the title the Witches said he?s one day own. The other prediction of course has a big effect upon Macbeth ? it strokes his already large ambitious nature to hear that he is going to become King.