Macbeth Essay, Research Paper
Unnatural Occurrences In Macbeth
In each act and scene of the play, it is obvious that the unnatural occurrences are definitely a major part of the play. In the play Macbeth, the use of unnatural occurrences through the witches, the visions, and the apparitions is a main element in making the play suspenseful and more interesting. The three witches add a mystic element and prophecy to the play.
The use of the super naturals occurs at the beginning of the play, when the three witches predict the fate of Macbeth. This gives the reader a clue to what the future holds for Macbeth. “When the battles lost and won.” (1,1,1-4). The second witch states this. It means that every battle is lost by one side and won by another. This quote shows that Macbeth will win, the physical battle, but will lose the battle within him. After the prophecies of the witches reveal the fate of Macbeth, the plan to gain power of the throne is brought up. The only way Macbeth is able to gain power of the throne is by working his way up in the royalty ranks. In other words, he must kill King Duncan. Macbeth looks at murdering King Duncan as an easy plan since he has been dreaming about it. The dreams are starting to urge him on. Lady Macbeth also relies on the unnatural by her calling the evil spirits to give her the power to plot the murder of Duncan with no guilty conscience (126.96.36.199-57). The use of unnatural occurrences increases the suspense now that Macbeth is constantly relying on the witches’ prophecies. Hecate, the lead witch is angry with the other witches for not involving her in their encounters with Macbeth. The witches plan to lead Macbeth into a down fault by making him feel over confident and encouraging him to make rash decisions without thinking of the consequences (188.8.131.52-35). To illustrate this, the witches lead Macbeth to kill Macduff’s family because the witches think Macduff should be revealed at as a traitor. Macbeth did not think of the consequences that come along with doing so. Ghost and visions are also widely used in the play to make it fascinating.
Through visions, unnatural occurrences enhance the play. Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth to murder King Duncan. On the night they plan to kill Duncan, Macbeth is waiting for Lady Macbeth to ring the bell. The bell signifies that it is clear to go up to Duncan’s chamber. While Macbeth is waiting, he hallucinates, seeing a bloody dagger in the air. He then tells himself that it is the time of night for such a hallucination: “Now o’er the one half-world / Nature seems dead, and wicked dreams abuse / The curtain’d sleep” (2.1.49-51). The blood-covered dagger puts Macbeth in a hypnotic haze and leads him towards the chamber where Duncan will be murdered. The bell rings and Macbeth sneaks up the staircase quietly to Duncan’s chamber making sure not to be seen or heard. Once the murder has been committed, Banquo becomes suspicious about Macbeth killing Duncan to have power of the throne. There is constantly fear and guilt inside Macbeth and his wife, so they decide to have Banquo murdered. Macbeth and his wife attend a banquet in which a ghost appears. Once the murderer returns and tells Macbeth that the deed of Banquo’s murder is complete, Macbeth observes the ghost closer. He then realizes that the ghost is Banquo. The ghost is sitting in Banquo’s regular seat. The murderer leaves and Macbeth returns to the feast. Standing next to the table, he announces that the banquet would be perfect if only Banquo were there. Macbeth addresses the ghost, saying, “Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake / Thy gory locks at me.” (184.108.40.206-120). Seeing the ghost causes Macbeth to act in a wild manner, making people suspicious of his actions (220.127.116.11-120). Macbeth is not the only one seeing things. Lady Macbeth has been caught many times sleepwalking in the middle of the night, going to the washroom and washing her hands over and over again. Out of guilt, she thinks there is blood all over her hands. “Out, damned spot!” (18.104.22.168). Lady Macbeth is desperately trying to remove blood from her hands. The blood really does not exist and she is sleeping at the time. She then returns to bed like nothing happened. Apparitions also add suspense and excitement.
Further in the play, Macbeth finds his way to the witches cave and demands to know what lies ahead for him. The three witches predict what he is going to ask and this produces the first apparition, which is an armed head. “Macbeth!, Macbeth!, Macbeth!, beware of Macduff, beware of the throne of Fife. Dismiss me: enough” (22.214.171.124-78). This apparition tells him to beware of Macduff. The second apparition appears (a bloody child), and says: “Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” (126.96.36.199-87). This apparition informs Macbeth that no man born from a woman can harm him. Finally, the last apparition appears and is a child crowned with a tree in his hand. The apparition is saying that he will never be defeated until Great Birnam wood shall come against him to High Dunsinane Hill. “Be lion melted, proud, and take no care who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: Macbeth shall never vaquish’d be until Great Birnam wood to High Dunsinane Hill shall come against him.” (188.8.131.52-102). These apparitions convince Macbeth that this is his fate and he becomes overconfident which leads him to his death.
In conclusion, the use of the supernatural in Macbeth results quite well with the respect of the unknown. “Without the witches, the visions, and the apparitions, Macbeth would have been a dull and tiresome play.” (Bloom 104) Readers need motivation to read, and this ancient superstition of spirits enhances the play dramatically.
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