Macbeth - Supernatural Theme

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The presence of supernatural forces in William Shakespeare's, "Macbeth," provides for much of the play's dramatic tension and the mounting suspense. Several supernatural apparitions throughout the play profoundly affect Macbeth and the evil forces eventually claim Macbeth and destroy his morals. Macbeth's ambition was driven by the prophecies of the three witches and unlike Banquo, he was willing to do anything to assure that they actually transpire. Macbeth is horrified at the notion of killing Duncan, his King and kinsman, but he eventually succumbs to the evil forces and this leads to his downfall. Macbeth further compromises his honor by arranging the murder of his best friend, Banquo. Banquo's places Macbeth in a precarious situation; he is deeply entrenched in suspicion and there is no way out. Macbeth's vision of Banquo's ghost at a royal banquet only drives him closer to insanity. Macbeth has changed dramatically as a character throughout the play. Macbeth was tortured with remorse after Duncan's murder but upon hearing of Banquo's successful assassination he is elated. His vaulting ambition was driving him to extreme measures and he could do nothing to abate it. Macbeth had risked his life to attain the throne and he had no choice but to employ Machiavellian practices to retain it. The appearance of Banquo's ghost at the royal banquet horrifies Macbeth. Shakespeare brilliantly uses irony to make Banquo's emergence very dramatic: Macbeth: Fail not our feast.

Banquo: My lord, I will not.
(III, i, ll 28-29)

Banquo's appearance provides insight into the character of Macbeth. It shows the level that Macbeth's mind has recessed to. His morality is declining and although he is battling his conscience, the evil forces have overcome his every thought and action. Banquo's ghost only appears to Macbeth and it represents his extreme guilt. Although he may have lost his honor he still is having trouble enjoying the crown when he...
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