Discuss the Role of the Supernatural in “Macbeth”

1984 Words Nov 21st, 2010 8 Pages
Discuss the role of the supernatural in “Macbeth”

The play “Macbeth” was written by William Shakespeare in the early 1600’s. The purpose of the play was to entertain the new king, James 1. The play a Scottish theme, inclusion of witches and also the characters of Banquo and Fleance, who are said to be ancestors of James 1, all point to the play having been produced in order to flatter the king to gain patronage, James 1 considered himself to be an expert on witches and witchcraft having written a book called “Demonology” and investigating Witchcraft trails. James 1 obsession with witches was not unusual. During Shakespeare’s time there was mass hysteria about witchcraft so “Macbeth”
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The only obstacle in Macbeth’s path now is his close friend Banquo, because Banquo suspects Macbeth of Duncan’s murder since he was also present when the witches told of Macbeth’s Kingship, “…I fear, thou play’st most foully for’t”. Banquo tells Macbeth that he suspects him of the Kings murder, “…Thou play’st foully for’t”, Banquo is clearly suggesting that Macbeth has played foully to achieve his Kingship. Also, it is not only Macbeth who was given this, “supernatural soliciting”.

The witches also predicted Baquo’s future, “Thou shalt get Kings, though thou be none” Banquo is told that he will not become a King but he shall be the father of many Kings. This is a problem for Macbeth because the only way Banquo’s children will become Kings is if the present King, Macbeth, dies and so Macbeth fears being murdered and being discovered to have murdered King Duncan. So he has Banquo murdered and on the same night invites him to a feast. Macbeth obviously does not expect Banquo to attend, but Banquo does attend as a ghost, and through the supernatural Shakespeare shows Macbeth’s fear and guilt. The King, Macbeth, is about to sit down at his table with his wife and some nobles when he sees no space for himself, although there is, but according to him a figure seems to be already sitting there, which we later discover, is the ghost of Banquo. Macbeth declares, “What treachery is this, which of you have done this”, his fellows are confused and some are apprehensive and
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