The Supernatural in Macbeth


In the play "Macbeth," there were many interesting sections which
could be concentrated on due to the suspense and the involvement
of the supernatural. The use of the supernatural in the witches,
the visions, the ghost, and the apparitions is a key element in
making the concept of the play work and in making the play
interesting. Looking through each Act and Scene of the play, it is
noticed that the supernatural is definitely a major factor on the
play's style.

The use of the supernatural occurs at the beginning of the play,
with three witches predicting the fate of Macbeth. This gives the
audience a clue to what the future holds for Macbeth. "When the
battles lost and won"(Act I, Scene I, l.4) was said by the second
witch. It says that every battle is lost by one side and won by
another. Macbeth's fate is that he will win the battle, but will
lose his time of victory for the battle of his soul.

After the prophecies of the witches' revealed the fate of Macbeth,
the plan in which to gain power of the throne is brought up. The
only way to gain power of the throne was for Macbeth to work his
way to the throne, or to murder King Duncan. Murdering the king
was an easier plan since the motivation in his dreams urged him
on. Lady Macbeth also relied on the supernatural by her soliloquy
of calling upon the evil spirits to give her the power to plot the
murder of Duncan without any remorse or conscience(Act I, Scene V,
ll.42-57). The three sisters are capable of leading people into
danger resulting in death, such as the sailor who never slept(Act
I, Scene III, ll.1-37).

Lady Macbeth has convinced her husband Macbeth to murder King
Duncan. On the night they planned to kill Duncan, Macbeth is
waiting for Lady Macbeth to ring the signal bell to go up the
stairs to Duncan's chamber. He sees the vision of the floating
dagger. The interest of the dagger is that it leads Macbeth
towards the chamber by the presence of evil of the dagger being
covered with blood. Then the bell rings and Macbeth stealthily
proceeds up the staircase to Duncan's chamber.

Once the murder has been committed, eventually Banquo has his
suspicions about Macbeth killing Duncan to have power of the
throne. There is constantly more guilt and fear inside Macbeth and
his wife that they decide to have Banquo killed. Macbeth and his
wife attend a banquet in which a ghost appears. Once the murderer
notified Macbeth that the deed was done, he observed the ghost of
Banquo sitting in his regular seat. This caused Macbeth to act in
a wild manner, making people suspicious of his actions. (Act III,
Scene VI, ll.31-120).

The use of the supernatural has increased the suspense now that
Macbeth is constantly relying on the prophecies of the three
witches. Hecate, the Queen of witches is angry with the three
sisters for not involving her in their encounters with Macbeth.
The witches plan to lead Macbeth to his downfall by making him
feel over-confident. (Act III, SceneV, ll.1-35). Further on in the
play, Macbeth finds his way to the witches' cave and demands to
know what lies ahead for him. The three witches predict what he is
going to ask and produce the first apparition which is an armed
head. "Macbeth!, Macbeth!, Macbeth!, beware of Macduff; beware
thane of Fife. Dismiss me: enough." (Act VI, Scene I, ll.77-78).
The first apparition tells Macbeth to beware of Macduff. Then the
second apparition appears (a bloody child), and says: "Be bloody,
bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of
woman born shall harm Macbeth." (Act IV, Scene I,ll.85-87). This
apparition informs Macbeth that no man born from a woman can harm
him. Finally, the last apparition appears and is a child crowned,
with a tree in his hand. The apparition is saying that he will
never be defeated until Great Birnam wood shall come against him
to High Dunsinane Hill. "Be lion melted, proud, and take no care
who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: Macbeth shall
never vanquish'd be until Great Birnamwood to High Dunsinane Hill
shall come against him." (Act VI, Scene I,ll.98-102). These
apparitions convinced Macbeth that this was his fate and became
over confident, and lead him to his death.

The use of the supernatural in Macbeth results quite well with the
respect of the unknown. Without the witches, the ghost, the
visions, and the apparitions, "Macbeth" would have been a dull and
tiresome play. Even today's readers need motivation to read, and
this ancient superstition of spirits enhanced the play
dramatically.