Macbeth: The Elements Of The Supernatural EssayWatch
Explore how Shakespeare presents the elements of the supernatural in Macbeth.
In Shakespeare’s caricature tragedy of ‘Macbeth’, the elements of the supernatural are emphasized in many ways in the tragedy to indicate the possession of the play itself. The supernatural is a pivotal theme in the tragedy as it personifies the paranormal connections between certain character throughout the play. This is prevalent through the witches and Lady Macbeth as they both interrogate Macbeth’s masculinity which leads him and Lady Macbeth to experience their insanity later.
In the allegorical tragedy of ‘Macbeth’, Shakespeare presents the three witches in the expedition of the play as it creates sinister and repulsive connotations to foreshadow what’s to come throughout this play. The tragedy commences with “thunder and lightning” which also indicates the “deep and dark desires” the tragedy will indicate. The use of pathetic fallacy reveals one of the stereotypical implications of the witches controlling the weather as the first which tells the other witches “When shall we three meets again, in thunder, lightning, or in rain?” This would have made the Jacobean audience to fear the witches because this would have made them refer this to the supernatural. In the Jacobean era, any action or involvement in the supernatural would have consequences of execution and death matters. Shakespeare characterizes the witches through the supernatural as malicious antagonists in the play who challenges Macbeth’s hamartia, persuading him to commit these calamitous crimes which foreshadows his insanity later in the Scottish play. They do this by telling Macbeth his foreshadowed prophecies that he is later to become. The witches predict that he is going to be “Thane of Cawdor” and later on in the tragedy “King hereafter”. The purpose of implying these prophecies towards the naïve Macbeth is to make him eager enough to make these prophecies come true. In the Jacobean era, The Divine Rights of Kings was the process of choosing the next king. They believed that God choose the next king when the other king has died or left the throne. This would have made the Jacobean audience confuse and suspicious of his dominant character because this would mean that Macbeth must murder King Duncan to take his Kingship and throne. Shakespeare conveys the supernatural through the chorus of witches chanting, “fair is foul, and foul is fair” The rhyme scheme creates mysterious and gothic atmosphere which seems to foreshadow the disturbing events of “foul” play of murderous and bloodshed indications that awaits form the hands of Macbeth. This instantly puts the audience on the edge, functioning an unnerving experience. The use of parallelism connotates the witches chanting a spell which would have been seen as Supernatural link. The use of paradoxical language would confuse as well as intrigue a Jacobean audience and represents the mysterious and hysteria surrounding the supernatural in the Jacobean era. The paradoxical couplets foreshadow a blur between good and evil, good will and corruption of the characters’ hamartia. Furthermore, the noun “foul” may also foreshadow Macbeth’s descent into tyranny and the guilt suffered by both him and Lady Macbeth. This ability to predict the future events would certainly lead members of the audience to believe the witches were speaking to the Supernatural and conveying Macbeth’s misfortunate fate of overwhelming feeling of guilt which inevitably leads to his downfall. The witches are later evoked using rhyming couplets which again refer to the communications with the Supernatural. “Double, double toil and trouble; fire burn, and cauldron bubble”. The use of poetic rhyme indicates the trochaic tetrameter which is different to all the other characters speak as they speak in iambic pentameter which highlights the repetition of the equivocated language used by the three witches to conjure a dreamlike atmosphere which makes the audience feel bewildered. This makes the witches stand out more as they are speaking through a contrasting type of language. The use of contradicted imagery clarifies that the witches’ lines serve full double meanings which shows that the witches are not human. The use of change in the meter suggest to the audience how their power can influence Shakespeare’s choice regarding the meter. This helps ease Macbeth’s guiltiness on himself as the witches are interrogating his hamartia to “proceed with this business”, but there again, Banquo receives these prophecies of his offspring’s becoming kings soon and he did not influence of the equivocation language used by the three weird sisters.