Supernatural of Macbeth

June 4, 2010
By Anonymous

In the tragedy, Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare the supernatural is used as a device to help portray the story. The supernatural almost serves as a literary device in telling the story. The supernatural’s presence in Macbeth is used to express feelings, foreshadow future events, and to taunt people of their doings.

First, purpose for the supernatural in Macbeth is to help express feelings of society and the god’s. The first example of the supernatural is the great chain of being. After the death of people nature would act up. When Duncan died the great chain of being acted up. It was stormy out and Lennox said he could here crying in the air. It would seem almost as if you were hearing Duncan screaming all around, or people in the heavens were screaming of Duncan’s death and it stormed because of their sadness, fear, and terror. Lennox told Macbeth of his night:

The night has been unruly. Where we lay,/ Our chimneys were blown down, and as they say, / Lamentings heard I’th’air, strange screams of death,/ And prophesying with accents terrible/ Of dire combustion and confused events/ New hatched to the woeful time. The obscure bird/ Clamored the livelong night. Some say the earth/ Was feverous and did shake. (2.3.54-61)
The great chain of being is also referenced on the night of Banquo’s death. Right before Banquo was killed Banquo said that it would rain that night. This relates to the Great Chain of Being because in it raining that night, Banquo, a great man, would die and it would be a sad night, therefore it would rain. Banquo said this to the murderers right when they walked up to kill him, “it will be rain tonight” (3.3.20).
Secondly, the supernatural was used as a device to foreshadow what would be happening later in the play, or later in the life of some people. The three witches are an example of supernatural. They had magical, mystical powers to predict the future and by them telling Banquo and Macbeth it let us know what would be in their future. When the witches called Macbeth the thane of Cawdor in which he hadn’t been named of yet, and that caught him off guard. The witches also told Banquo that his son’s would be the next kings but how could Macbeth and Banquo’s son’s be, it made no sense. But this supernatural power was used to foreshadow to the audience of what could be happening in the future. The witches spoke of things that Banquo and Macbeth had knew before, “though shalt get kings, though thou be none. / So all hail, Macbeth and Banquo” (1.3.67-68). Another use of mysticism is used with the apparitions that appear in front of Macbeth. Three apparitions talk and warn Macbeth of things he should be careful of, and on some of the things he should decide. Again these are used to foreshadow things that might happen to Macbeth later in the story. The first apparition says, “ Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff,/ Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough” (4.1.71-72).
Finally, the supernatural’s purpose is also to taunt people of their doings. For example at the dinner party at Macbeth’s Banquo’s ghost shows up and is taunting Macbeth of his death. He seems to actually havea pretty good after life though, quite fun. Banquo’s qhost continue’to taunt Macbeth by sitting in his chair. Also, lady Macbeth’s conscience is always playing with her in her sleep. She always sleep walks and talks of her guilt of all the killings. Of all her knowledge she has had of Macbeth’s doings.
The supernatural’s presence in Macbeth is used to express feelings, foreshadow future events with mysticism, and taunt people of their doings. The supernatural sometimes knows more than what the people know. The supernatural is a strange, but is used to give more detail about events, what is to come, and what is happened.

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