Role of Supernatural in Determining the Fate of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Act 1

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Discuss the role of the supernatural in determining the fate of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth in Act 1.

In the play “Macbeth” by William Shakespeare, the supernatural is given a significant role in influencing the lives of two of the main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. This can be seen all throughout Act 1 where the supernatural is presented in forms of witches, spells, prophecies and spirits. The supernatural indirectly determines the fate of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and does give apparent justifications to their aspirations and desires.

Macbeth’s first encounter with the witches unveils his true intentions and gives us a taste of his ugly greed and ambitions. This can be clearly seen in Act 1 Scene 3 when the witches refer to Macbeth as the “Thane of Glamis”, “Thane of Cawdor” and “the king hereafter”. This causes Macbeth to question their “strange intelligence” as they have no legitimate proof of what they have stated. However, Macbeth is curious and interested in what they are saying because even though he refers to them as “imperfect speakers”, he still wants to know more and tells them to go on. This highlights the fact that Macbeth is considering his options and may take some actions based on what he hears. Macbeth starts to seriously reflect upon what the witches said after he is granted the title of being the “Thane of Cawdor” as that was something he didn’t expect. However, even without the witch’s influence we do get an insight of Macbeth’s intents when he ponders about what may lay in the future. This is clearly evident when he refers to his feelings about murder as if it makes his “seated heart knock at my [Macbeth’s] ribs”. This demonstrates that he is in fact excited about the assassination and that it is well under his consideration.

Lady Macbeth is reassured and also rejoices in the idea of Macbeth being king as is stated from his letter. This is clearly evident when Macbeth refers to the witches reciting “Hail, king that shalt be”...
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