The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Works Essay

1747 Words 7 Pages
The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Works

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
…show more content…
Magic and supernatural beings occur in one-forth of Shakespeare-s comedies, 60% of his plays, and 60% of his tragedies (Hoffman67). Witches appear in Macbeth, a ghost appears in Hamlet, and fairies appear in A Mid-Summer Nights Dream. In addition, magic cures are given in All’s Well, evil curses are chanted in Richard III, and prophecies are told in Julius Caesar. Most of Shakespeare’s works contain some form of the supernatural. Shakespeare, however, was too great of a writer to lower the quality of his work to satisfy the taste of the Elizabethans. Although the court sometimes pressured his into including some form of the supernatural in his plays that had nothing to do with his themes, he rarely allowed Elizabethans’ demands to affect his own conception of how the supernatural should be used.
To understand how far Shakespeare exceeded other writers, a comparison of their supernatural characters is necessary. In other pieces of literature the ghosts, witches, and devils are merely monsters whose purpose is to scare. However, the characters are real in Shakespearean literature, and while they are evil and terrifying, and embody most of the current superstitions, they never fail to be impressive and dramatic. Another point that sets Shakespeare apart from other writers is his refusal to use the supernatural for its own sake and not for the purpose of his plot. The demands of the people convinced lesser writers to introduce a supernatural element that had no
Open Document