The Supernatural


The Supernatural Essay, Research Paper

Throughout William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, many characters evolve and

many disappear into the background. The main character, Macbeth (MB for

short), travels through utter chaos when he proclaims himself monarch.

When he first meets the witches of the supernatural, they tell him of

the future. One of the themes amplified throughout the play is the

circle of life, from the beginning to the end. The visions provided by

the three witches begin Macbeth’s quest for dominance. The three main

effects of this theme are: the death of Macbeth’s friends and family.

Second, the deaths of his mortal enemies. The last point is the death of

himself. The supernatural amplifies the theme of death.

From the first brief encounter of the witches, to the last nightmarish

visions that Macbeth has, many close friends and relatives have died

because of his visions with the supernatural. The death of his wife in

Act V, Scene IV is the death that sends him over the abyss and into

mental instability. Lady Macbeth is like a joined appendage to Macbeth.

They work as one, communicate as one, and when that appendage is lost,

so is MB’s grip with reality. Lady Macbeth was the only person he could

truly confide in. The supernatural also had another key factor to her

death. In the first act of the play, she calls on the powers of the

supernatural to make her strong. The following quote, “Come, you spirits

that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, and fill me from the crown

to the toe, top-full of direst cruelty! make thick my blood, stop up the

access and passage to remorse? Come to my woman’s breasts, and take my

milk for gall?”, is possibly the most important passage that leads to

Lady Macbeth’s death. She calls on the evil spirits to “unsex” her, and

to replace her “milk” with “gall”. It seems that she wants to be the

most cruelest being in the world. The theme of the life cycle is

amplified in this situation because of her request to the spirits. This

event is the beginning of the end for Lady Macbeth’s life. She is the

one who insists Macbeth should kill the king and reign as the king of

Scotland. It is her ideas and plans that lead herself and Macbeth into

the pits of hell. She is not solely to blame for this catastrophe

though. It is Macbeth that decides to go forward with the plans.

Throughout all the chaos in the remaining scenes of the play, she is

eventually killed by one of Malcolm’s associates. Therefore, it is her

own foul play with the supernatural that leads to her death.

This play shows how one man can turn himself into a barbarian just by

one simple vision. Throughout this play, many of Macbeth’s enemies, and

traitors (Banquo) are killed by Macbeth or his hired assassins. In the

first vision provided by the witches, Macbeth seems himself as king of

Scotland, and Banquo’s children future heirs to the throne. When Macbeth

finally kills King Duncan, the turning point has vanished. There is no

going back to the past and changing what has happened. This event

signals the gates of hell to unlatch the door that holds the chaos that

will torment Macbeth to his own death. This regicide happens all because

to path to what Macbeth thinks of freedom is open. After the Thane of

Cawdor is executed, MB believes that he can then crush his remaining

enemies with one swift stroke. This is not so, as Macbeth finds. After

he commits regicide, he realizes that he must kill all the enemies that

oppose him, mainly Malcolm, the king’s heir to the throne. When Banquo

sees through MB’s falsehood, he then turns traitor. When Macbeth

realizes that one of his closest friends has become his mortal enemy, he

sees to it that Banquo is murdered. Once again, these significant deaths

on the timeline all happen because of the supernatural. The visions from

the three witches, and the summonings of evil from Lady Macbeth are the

two events that mainly lead to this path of destruction. The first

paradox from the witches serves to confuse the reader into thinking what

will happen to Banquo. Macbeth knows that he must become king of

Scotland before Banquo or he will not fulfill his prophecy.

All these events lead up to end, the murder of Macbeth himself. From the

very beginning of the play, Macbeth sees himself as a visionary, who can

see into near future. Only after his wife is killed does he suddenly

loose grip with reality. With this event, Macbeth can now be compared to

as Adolf Hitler. Both loose their sanity after they loose something very

dear to them. For Macbeth, it is his wife. For Hitler, it is world

domination. After both of these figures loose these “possessions”, they

suddenly go haywire. Although Hitler did not reign on the powers of the

supernatural, he did go completely off the edge after the Allied forces

started to invade Germany. Both these figures made one horrible mistake.

Macbeth listened to the prophecies and vowed to kill the king. When he

committed regicide, that was his horrible mistake. That was when

everything turned against him, and when he could never turn back. When

Hitler invaded the U.S.S.R. in 1944-5, the Allies had a chance to

conquer Germany. That single tactical error was what made him go over

the edge. After both of these leaders go mad, they are killed in battle

or commit suicide. Macbeth has a chance to flee at the end, but chooses

not to and is slain in battle. Hitler also has a chance to “run away”

but he and his wife commit suicide by having his officers douse him with

gasoline and set both of them on fire. Macbeth’s mistake, originally

started by that one supernatural encounter with the three witches

eventually leads to his demise.

In conclusion, the use of the supernatural amplifies the cycle of life

or the beginning of the end. Throughout each encounter that Macbeth has

with a supernatural prophecy, he proceeds one more step towards

insanity, and eventually his own death. The death of his closest

companion, Lady Macbeth, also brings him one more step towards his own

death. In Macbeth, a pattern resides, where one death after another

caused by the supernatural brings him closer to insanity and to his own

death. In some spots, it looks like Macbeth needs to be told to put one

foot in front of another. This tragic tale of one man’s cycle of life

lead by the supernatural, also paints a vision of the beginning of his

plunge into insanity. Macbeth’s first encounter with the three witches

is truly the beginning of the end.

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