The Supernatural In Macbeth Act 4 Scene

Shakespeare?s writing of

Macbeth may have been partly motivated by a desire to impress King James I of

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England the king had written a book called Demonology and studied

witchcraft.Banquo who is in the play, is also James’s ancestor.It

is also believed that the source of the play is Chronicles of England,

Scotland and Ireland, by Raphael Holinshed.The play tells the story

of a man, urged by his wife and foretold by prophecy, who murders the king in

order to gain power.The scene I am studying, Act

4 Scene 1, begins

with three Witches stirring the cauldron chanting “Double, double, toil

and trouble,”. . . . (4.1.20).The witches call up apparitions which give

Macbeth warnings, promises, and prophecies The Witches vanish and Macbeth calls

in Lennox, who tells him that Macduff has fled to England, whereupon Macbeth

orders the murder of Macduff’s wife and children.The atmosphere that is created at the

beginning of this scene is of a sinister and isolated place, as the witches

gather on the moor. There was thunder at the time which also helped to create

an evil setting. Shakespeare?s use of language helps to create this atmosphere,

with the use of rhyming couplets , ?snake, bake? (4.1.12&13). The

witches use words associated with death and of nocturnal creatures. The other

characters use blank verse in the play.Macbeth laughs at the first apparition’s

warning, ?for thy good thanks? (4.1.73), thinking that he has nothing to

fear from Macduff, and also swearing to kill him, just to insure that the

prophecy does not come true, but then he becomes alarmed with the other

two apparitions, he believes in? the

witches as they foretold that he was going to become Thane of Cawdor, and this

came true.The apparitions are important because the

events that they portray come true. The first, ?beware Macduff?, the

consequence of this will be Macduff killing Macbeth. The second, ?none born of

women shall harm Macbeth?, this also means that Macduff can harm Macbeth

because he was born by caesarean. The third, ?Birnam Wood comes to high

Dunsinane?, (4.1.70, 80 & 90), Macbeth will not be defeated until

Birnam Wood comes to high Dunsinane. Macbeth is over confident and does not

believe this can happen. The Globe Theatre itself is

designed to operate in much the same way as it would have done in the 16th

century, with no electronic equipment, microphones, or stage lighting (except

for floodlights that give the impression of daylight during the performances).

There is no scenery except for furniture and props. Everything has been

designed to correspond as closely as possible to the workings of the

Elizabethan stage. Some props used in the play Macbeth, may have been mirrors,

to make the affect of there being eight kings (4.1.110).a cauldron pot

and swords. Many Elizabethans believed in forms of supernatural, so the effects

that needed to be created would not have to have been so realistic, any hint of

supernatural would of caused fear among the audience.Shakespeare today has also

been brought to film, many versions of Macbeth have been made, where special

effects are used with a eerie soundtrack, which can enhance the action of the

film. Some of Shakespeare?s plays have even been made into blockbuster movies

by making them more modern, as with Romeo & Juliet and 10 things

I hate about you (Taming of the shrew), it has made people more interested

in Shakespeare?s work.From my understanding of the

play, the story of Macbeth is a story of jealousy and power at any cost, which

becomes a dangerous combination. He was prepared to do evil for the love of his

wife and for the desire to be king. His weak character meant that he was easily

lead by his wife, he does not take notice of the witches warning and suffers

the consequences, when he is murdered by Macduff at the end of the play. The

moral of this tale is actions always come with consequences and fate on its own

can not be trusted.They make greater the theatrical experience with images of

darkness, thunder and lightning that make Macbeth the tragedy it is. Macbeth is a play where atmosphere and setting plays a very

importantKatherine Bond 10w



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