English IV Honors
25 January 2013
Shakespeare invites alternate readings with supernatural effects and Macbeth is one of his most powerful plays because he includes evil witches that make it hard to control your destiny and unnatural settings lead to Macbeth’s own mind disease. No literary work is wreathed in superstition more than Macbeth. Shakespeare is famous for contrasting imagery within his plays to develop characterization, make a point, or establish an atmosphere. Shakespeare makes the point of Macbeth invocating evil spirits because he is possessed by the witches by contrasting natural and supernatural events. He also leaves the reader to decide if his actions are provoked by his fear and wishes to be king or is it the supernatural forces troubling him. The supernatural occurrences play a huge part in Macbeth. Elizabethan’s have several beliefs in superstitions and superstitions are the unknown unseen of the universe. Superstitions are also woven into the plot of Macbeth. Some superstitions include that they believe in witches, ghosts, destiny, and the foretelling of the future. Natural order is used to foreshadow and show the mindset of people in Shakespeare’s time. Chain of being was a superstition that meant the people in Shakespearean England knew it was prohibited to move about your place in being. When something was unexplainable, they would relate that problem to the supernatural. The “weird sisters” had all the features of witches in those days. For example, they were old people, wore dirty broken clothes, and came together in groups of three. Witches are regarded as old women who have sold their souls to the devil, and assumed the bodies of old women for their evil purposes. In Shakespeare time witches were also known as goddesses of punishment. The witches had many animals but the toad and cat were used as evil spirits who had taken this unnatural form. The owl is often heard in Macbeth and it gives the play a...
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