Shakespeare and Supernatural Elements

1772 WordsMay 1, 20028 Pages
No one questions the fact that William Shakespeare is a pure genius when it comes to creating immortal characters whose characteristics transcends those of the normal supernatural beings, but most students of literature agree that his uses of the supernatural aren't merely figments of his creative imagination. Every man, woman, and child is influenced by the age into which they are born and Shakespeare was no exception. Not only does his use of supernatural elements within his works reveal the Elizabethans' obsession with mythical beliefs, but it also reveals his attitude toward these beliefs at different points of his writing career. Because of the profound understanding of the beliefs of his time, Shakespeare was able to create…show more content…
The fairies mix freely with men and women of the court and, through childish pranks, do nothing more than annoy them. With the desire to entertain in mind, Shakespeare doesn't use anything heavy (Hoffman 135). At least six or seven years pass before he writes Hamlet. A profound change has come over his attitude toward the supernatural. No longer does he handle it with the cheerfulness shown in his earlier works. Hamlet reveals that his mind is darkened by doubts and questions. The form of the supernatural he uses is the terrifying ghost. He had used it in Richard III but not until Hamlet did he develop it fully and demonstrated dramatic use of it ( Dameron 87). The ghost fulfills all the demands of Elizabethan beliefs. In the first pace, it comes at night when it is cold and lonely, it can't speak unless spoken to, and it comes for a purpose—to revenge his murder. Second, Shakespeare gives the ghost more power over humans than just the fairies' ability to annoy. It, however, is limited. Th ghost has no power to float into the castle at Elsinor and slay Claudius with his own hands. It must choose the living to help. Even then, it couldn't insist on his carrying out the task. The ghost could only spur him in the hope that it would be done. The Ghost in Hamlet is an excellent example of the skill with which Shakespeare had in forming his supernatural characters with Elizabethan beliefs. However, it is more that that. Dameron describes it as a
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