Supernatural In Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
In Macbeth, there are many sections that refer to the involvement of the supernatural. The use of the supernatural in the script, the witches, the visions, the ghost of Banquo, and the apparitions, are key elements making the concept of the play work and in making the play interesting. Supernatural forces are definitely a major factor in developing the play.
The use of the supernatural occurs at the beginning of the play, with three witches predicting the fate of Macbeth. This gives the audience a clue to what the future holds for Macbeth. “When the battle’s lost and won” (1.1.4), is said by the second witch, stating that the battle is lost by one side, and won by another. Macbeth’s fate is that he will win the battle, but will lose his soul. After the witches reveal the destiny of Macbeth, the plan to gain the power of the throne is brought up. The only way to gain the power of the throne is for Macbeth to work his way to the throne, or to murder King Duncan. Murdering the king is an easier plan.
Lady Macbeth also relies on the supernatural in her soliloquy, where she calls upon the spirits to give her the power to plot the murder of Duncan without any remorse or conscience. “Come, you spirits that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown to the toe top-full of direst cruelty” (1.5.47-50). Lady Macbeth convinces her husband, Macbeth, to murder King Duncan. On the night they plan to kill Duncan, Macbeth is waiting for Lady Macbeth to ring the bell, signaling him to go to Duncan”s chamber. On his way, he sees the vision of the dagger. The significance of the dagger is that it leads Macbeth towards the chamber by the presence of evil, it being covered with blood. When the bell rings, Macbeth stealthily proceeds up the staircase to Duncan”s chamber.
After the murder is committed, Banquo develops suspicions about Macbeth killing Duncan to gain power to the throne. There is constantly more guilt and fear inside Macbeth and his wife, and they decide to have Banquo killed. Macbeth and his lady attend a banquet in which the ghost of Banquo appears. Once the murderer notifies Macbeth that the deed has been done, he observes the ghost of Banquo sitting in his reserved seat. This causes Macbeth to act in a wild manner, making people suspicious of his actions. (3.4.54-150)
Further on in the play, Macbeth travels to meet the witches and demands to know what lies ahead for him. The three witches predict what he is going to ask and produce the first apparition, the armed head. The first apparition tells Macbeth to beware of Macduff. “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff! Beware the thane of Fife! Dismiss me. Enough” (1.4.81-82). After this, the second apparition appears, a bloody child. “Be bloody, bold, and resolute. Laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” (4.1.90-92). The apparition informs Macbeth that no man born from a woman, naturally, can harm him. Finally, the third apparition appears as a crowned child, with a tree in his hand. The apparition says that Macbeth will never be defeated until Birnam forest moves to Dunsinane. “Be lion-mettled, proud, and take no care who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are. Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him” (4.1.103-107). These apparitions convince Macbeth that this is his fate and Macbeth becomes over confident, leading him to his death.
The use of the supernatural in Macbeth brings the play to an end quite successfully. Stripped of the witches, the ghost of Banquo, the visions, and the apparitions, Shakespeare would require a different route to deliver the theme of the play, and consequentially, would lose most, if not all, of its significance it holds.