Supernatural Forces in Macbeth
In the play "Macbeth," there were many interesting sections
which could be concentrated on due to the suspense and the involvement
of the supernatural. The use of the supernatural in the witches, the
visions, the ghost, and the apparitions is a key element in making the
concept of the play work and in making the play interesting. Looking
through each Act and Scene of the play, it is noticed that the
supernatural is definitely a major factor on the play's style.
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
battles lost and won" (Act I, Scene I, l.4) was said by the second
witch. It says that every battle is lost by one side and won by
another. Macbeth's fate is that he will win the battle, but will lose
his time of victory for the battle of his soul.
After the prophecies of the witches' revealed the fate of
Macbeth, the plan in which to gain power of the throne is brought up.
The only way to gain power of the throne was for Macbeth to work his
way to the throne, or to murder King Duncan. Murdering the king was
an easier plan since the motivation in his dreams urged him on. Lady
Macbeth also relied on the supernatural by her soliloquy of calling
upon the evil spirits to give her the power to plot the murder of
Duncan without any remorse or conscience (Act I, Scene V, ll.42-57).
The three sisters are capable of leading people into danger resulting
in death, such as the sailor who never slept (Act I, Scene III,
Lady Macbeth has convinced her husband Macbeth to murder King
Duncan. On the night they planned to kill Duncan, Macbeth is waiting
for Lady Macbeth to ring the signal bell to go up the stairs to
Duncan's chamber. He sees the vision of the floating dagger. The
interest of the dagger is that it leads Macbeth towards the chamber by
the presence of evil of the dagger being covered with blood. Then the
bell rings and Macbeth stealthily proceeds up the staircase to
Once the murder has been committed, eventually Banquo has his
suspicions about Macbeth killing Duncan to have power of the throne.
There is constantly more guilt and fear inside Macbeth and his wife
that they decide to have Banquo killed. Macbeth and his wife attend a
banquet in which a ghost appears. Once the murderer notified Macbeth
that the deed was done, he observed the ghost of Banquo sitting in his
regular seat. This caused Macbeth to act in a wild manner, making
people suspicious of his actions. (Act III, Scene VI, ll.31-120).
The use of the supernatural has increased the suspense now that
Macbeth is constantly relying on the prophecies of the three witches.
Hecate, the Queen of witches is angry with the three sisters for not
involving her in their encounters with Macbeth. The witches plan to
lead Macbeth to his downfall by making him feel over-confident. (Act
III, Scene V, ll.1-35).
Further on 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 produce the first apparition which
is an armed head. "Macbeth!, Macbeth!, Macbeth!, beware of Macduff;
beware thane of Fife. Dismiss me: enough." (Act VI, Scene I,
ll.77-78). The first apparition tells Macbeth to beware of Macduff.
Then 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." (Act IV, Scene I, ll.85-87). 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 vanquish'd be
until Great Birnam wood to High Dunsinane Hill shall come against
him." (Act VI, Scene I, ll.98-102). These apparitions convinced
Macbeth that this was his fate and became over confident, and lead him
to his death.
The use of the supernatural in Macbeth results quite well with
the respect of the unknown. Without the witches, the ghost, the
visions, and the apparitions, "Macbeth" would have been a dull and
tiresome play. Even today's readers need motivation to read, and this
ancient superstition of spirits enhanced the play dramatically.
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