Macbeth Essay for Year 11 Coursework

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Macbeth Coursework.

-Discuss the role of the witches and the effects of the supernatural element in the play “Macbeth”.

One of Shakespeare’s most famous plays “Macbeth” was performed in the early 1600’s. The story was made to be shown in theatres and was performed countless of times to entertain. Macbeth is a Shakespearean tragedy, but it could also be argued it is similar to a Greek trudge. As opposed to Greek tragedies Shakespeare made their inner weakness of man visible to the audience in Macbeth. The play is famous for its themes such as supernatural, greed, disorder and ambition. In the play the main character Macbeth went from Protagonist to antagonist which is unusual in most plays and story’s out. Shakespeare does this to show how the supernatural can affect you and turn a good, loyal, trustworthy person to bad. Witchcraft in Shakespearean times was an interesting issue which many people felt they were affected by. People believed in the supernatural very strongly and a majority of them were frightened of it, including the king at that time, king James of England. If people were found to be witches they were burnt alive. The play reinforces the view that people despised the witches and were scared of them as it shows the witches in a bad light and shows their evilness and what damage they could do. When the witches first appear the weather is dull and thundery. This was done to set an atmosphere and to show the witches are evil and sneaky. Macbeth meets the witches in a Barren Heath; this represents their position in society as a Barren Heath is an empty place in the middle of no-where which straight away makes the audience not trust them. Magic was viewed by religious people in Shakespearean times as scary and powerful. People thought that magic and the supernatural were all linked to the devil, which is where the fear comes from. People were interested in magic but were very wary about the outcomes of it.

Act one scene one is short, direct and build tension. The weather is thundery and dull which reflects with witchcraft and the chaos that the witches cause. The witches speak in Rhyme and couplets which again adds to the sense of supernatural. The witches also speak in Oxymoron’s which we cannot understand them therefore we lose trust in them. The scene is quiet confusing for the audience which leaves a lot of questions unanswered. The witches are speaking about meeting Macbeth on a Barren Heath “upon the heath...There to meet with Macbeth.” Straight away we question Macbeth and begin to wonder why they will be meeting him and what’s going to happen next.

In act one scene two Duncan and other noble men are talking about the heroic actions of Macbeth and they paint a very positive picture of him. “O Valliant cousin! Worthy gentleman.” This creates a good picture of Macbeth to the audience and makes them think Macbeth is a worthy, trustful, noble gentleman. Shakespeare does this so that the audience get to know Macbeths character and to make us trust him so that we don’t expect him to turn to the evil side later on in the story like he does and it shocks us.

In act one scene three we meet Macbeth we meet him upon a Barren Heat. The weather is thundery which sets a mysterious and dull atmosphere and also sets the scene for the witches. When Macbeth and Banquo appear and see the witches, Banquo describes the witches as been “withered” & having “Skinny lips.” This gives the reader a visual image inside their head of what the witches look like which is very effective. Macbeth and Banquo appear whilst the Witches are performing a spell. This shows the supernatural side of Macbeth especially as the witches are speaking in rhyming couplets. Also when Macbeth and Banquo appear it shows the witches power and again shows the supernatural side. The witches make predictions for both Macbeth and Banquo. They both act like they do not believe what the witches have said and...
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