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Question: What is the importance/significance of the supernatural in Macbeth.( 20 marks)

The supernatural is a central theme in Macbeth.Shakespeare uses the supernatural in order to reveal how it can corrupt our mindsets and ultimately lead to our downfall.

The witches are the core supernatural character in Macbeth. They are seen as directly opposed to God. There are three witches in Macbeth, which seem to link with the predominant Jacobean belief of God being in a Trinity with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. This direct contradiction of God depict how the witches are determined to go against God's will and so work with the Devil to sabotage God’s plan.This is seen when the witches call Macbeth “king" causing Macbeth to become obsessed ambition (which is his hamartia) and lead to his downfall .Macbeth is convinced to commit regicide and so causes disorder in the Great Chain of Being by opposing God. Thiswas deemed as a great sin by the Jacobean audience and so seems to warn them of supernatural eliciting. Furthermore, the witches are the first in the first scene of the play, which highlights to the audience how they are an important part of the play.In Act 1 Scene 1,witches cry," fair is foul and foul is fair”. The oxymoron causes tension as “fair “and “foul” seem to contradict each other. This reinforces the idea the witches are agents of chaos and so foreshadows the disruption of the natural order caused by the witches. The witches are seen to corrupt Macbeth by equivocating and speaking in half truths. Banquo is seen to warn Macbeth of this attribute of the witches when he says, “they win us with honest trifles to betray us in deepest consequence”.This message is also repeated in the book written by King James I " Daemonolgie”which warns the reader of witches as they shouldn’t be trusted.It illustrates King James' own fears and. paranoia as he was convinced that witches would cause his own downfall and loss in power However by the time Macbeth realises the witches have led to Macbeth's downfall, it was too late and he can only call them "juggling fiends”.This seems to warn the Jacobean not to stray from the core belief of Christianity but follow God’s path so that the natural order of things remain in balance.

Furthermore, the witches are seen to spark wicked thoughts within all the characters of the play who have communicated with the witches and led to them feeling intense guilt and remorse which is represented through their hallucinations. Before Macbeth goes to kill king Duncan he sees a hallucination of a dagger saying," is this a dagger I see before me?”. In this scene Macbeth was seen to be reluctant to commit regicide , however the hallucination of a "dagger” convinces Macbeth that is destined to be king and seems as though the supernatural are tot him This causes Machern to commit regicide and then due to this, he seems to go on a murderous rampage and reason that he has “scorched the snake but not killed it''. This causes Macbeth to even consider killing his own friend due to his ambition being triggered by the witches. Furthermore, Lady Macbeth calls out to the spirits to “unsex” her . This shows how she has been influenced by the witches who are also seen to have no gender as she wants to rid her feminine qualities in order to attain power.This shows how Lady Macbeth doesn't fit into typical Jacobean standards of a woman.However later on in the play, Lady Macbeth is seen to feel guilt as she cries “out damned spot”.This warns the audience that whoever listens to the witches will be “damned” for eternity.
(edited 2 months ago)

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