Shakespeare’s the Tempest, Hamlet, and Macbeth Essay

1607 Words Jan 23rd, 2012 7 Pages
The Role of Magic in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Hamlet, and Macbeth

Like many other themes, magic and supernatural elements play a large role in many of Shakespeare’s works. The use of magic interests the audience, plays to the imagination, and adds dramatic intrigue to the story, even when the rest of the plot is comprised of believable events. These themes are most prominent in The Tempest, Hamlet, and Macbeth. In each of these plays, magic and supernatural occurrences not only play a large role in the plot, but also help to communicate various messages and literary value. Shakespeare utilizes magic and supernatural happenings in both positive and negative lights, depending on the purpose it serves in each of the mentioned
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These three witches determine not necessarily what is true, but what Macbeth considers to be fate. He takes their magic and their manipulative abilities to be destiny, but feels that he must act proactively in order for the prophecies to come true. He asks many questions of the witches – not simply accepting their statements, but demanding as many details as possible so that he can secure his “fate.”

"I conjure you, by that which you profess, / Howe'er you come to know it, answer me"
(4.1.66-67).

In this statement, we see Macbeth’s eagerness over supernatural abilities. He demands that the witches reveal their secrets to him, so that he can see for himself how is future will supposedly unfold. The witches and their magic in this passage and in this play function as a great temptation and jealousy of Macbeth. He regards the mystery of magic and the witches’ unnatural knowledge to be unchangeable, irreversible, and infinitely and forever true. He trusts them completely, but his hunger for power and the temptation of his future wealth and stature leads him to act out of greed. Ultimately, Macbeth displays the power of magic as interpreted into fate, and portrayed in an unsavory light.

A third Shakespearean play, Hamlet, shows supernatural powers and ability in a very different
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