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The Role Of The Supernatural In Shakespeare

924 words - 4 pages

The Role of the Supernatural in ShakespeareIn the time of William Shakespeare there was a strong belief in the existence of the supernatural. Thus, the supernatural is a recurring aspect in many of Mr. Shakespeare's plays. In two such plays, Hamlet and Macbeth, the supernatural is an integral part of the structure of the plot. It provides a catalyst for action, an insight into character, and augments the impact of many key scenes.The supernatural appears to the audience in many varied forms. In Hamlet there appears perhaps the most notable of the supernatural forms, the ghost. However, in Macbeth, not only does a ghost appear but a floating dagger, witches, and prophetic apparitions make ...view middle of the document...

In this scene the ghost makes an appearance to "whet" Hamlet's "almost blunted purpose". Hamlet is now convinced of the ghost and he no longer harbors any suspicion. He now listens to it, "Speak to her, Hamlet".In Hamlet, the supernatural is the guiding force behind Hamlet. The ghost ask Hamlet to seek revenge for the King's death and Hamlet is thus propelled to set into action a series of events that ends in Hamlet's death.The supernatural occurs four times during the course of Macbeth. It occurs in all the appearances of the witches, in the appearance of Banquo's ghost, in the apparitions with their prophesies, and in the "air-drawn" dagger that guides Macbeth towards his victim.Of the supernatural phenomenon evident in Macbeth the witches are perhaps the most important. The witches represent Macbeth's evil ambitions. They are the catalyst which unleash Macbeth's evil aspirations. Macbeth believes the witches and wishes to know more about the future so after the banquet he seeks them out at their cave. He wants to know the answers to his questions regardless of whether the consequence be violent and destructive to nature. The witches promise to answer and at Macbeth's choice they add further unnatural ingredients to the cauldron and call up their masters. This is where the prophetic apparitions appear. The first apparition is Macbeth's own head (later to be cut off by Macduff) confirming his fears of Macduff. The second apparition tells Macbeth that he can not be harmed by no one born of woman. This knowledge gives Macbeth a...

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