The Supernatural Characters In The Macbeth Play

Shakespeare is universally recognized for writing a plethora of unconventional literature which are retold in many of today’s classics. Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a play overflowing with cruel vitalities and a whimsy of supernatural features. The play invites its audience to experience the thrilling malice of a man, Macbeth, who develops a hunger for power. Macbeth is overwhelmed by diverse supernatural forms which deprive him of his moralities and eventually his dignity. The supernatural characters in the play had malevolent influences on the protagonist which enabled Shakespeare to deliver a tragedy that conveys a morbid tone throughout.

The dramatic tension created by the supernatural beings in Macbeth contribute to the morbid tone of the play. The true evil of Macbeth lies in the Weird Sisters, three witches who manipulate Macbeth’s actions by fabricating prophecies that would lead him to the throne. In a soliloquy, once heroic and dignified Macbeth proves he has become resolute in his villainous intentions, proclaiming “from this moment / the very firstlings of my heart shall be / the firstlings of my hand,” .

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Evil prevails over Macbeth as he becomes colder and more relentless in his affliction to become King of Scotland. He is confident that he will attain whatever he desires, undeterred by any hesitation. Macbeth is committed so that the events as told in the witches’ prophecies are sure to transpire. The Weird Sisters are a supernatural element in the play that continuously accentuate the morbid tone by infecting Macbeth with murderous tendencies in pursuit of the throne.

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Another crucial supernatural occurrence in Macbeth to amplify its morbid tone is the paraphysical phenomenon of the floating dagger. Shakespeare includes the dagger to serve as another form of anguish for Macbeth as he flusters over the deceit being done to him by his fatigued senses. At the emergence of the dagger, Macbeth contemplates its significance, “a dagger of the mind, a false creation / Proceeding from the heat-oppressed mind?” . The intensity of this thought provokes the heat which distorts his faltering sanity. “It is the bloody business which informs / Thus to mine eyes,”. He affirms that the materialized weapon is a revelation of an action that must be taken; despite his mental perceiving of a bloodied dagger, the only thing that is clear to confused Macbeth is that he must now proceed to kill Duncan. The soliloquy in Act 2 Scene 1 heightens the morbid tone of the play and further establishes the torture Macbeth endures in his mission to fulfill the prophecies and become king.

An additional supernatural event in the play that contributed to its morbid tone is Macbeth’s sighting of the ghost of Banquo at the dinner. The apparition at the banquet prepared in Act 3, Scene 4 symbolizes Macbeth’s mental deterioration caused by the prophecies the freakish forces burdened him with. Early in this scene, the murderer, appointed by Macbeth, informs him that Banquo is brutally killed, dead with twenty gashes in his head. The murdering of his friend had deeply tormented Macbeth; Shakespeare gave him the adversity of seeing a manifestation of Banquo with blood clotted hair, which agitates him. “Thou canst not say I did it. Never shake / Thy gory locks at me,” Lady Macbeth worried that with the lack of his decency, Macbeth was too close to confessing to his wrongdoings in the presence of their guests. “Blood will have blood,” is said by Macbeth, to exaggerate that this murder, including that of Duncan’s, will keep him in a constant state of distress. The banquet incident reveals some of Macbeth’s weaknesses that attempt to divert him from his place in power, the ghost of Banquo was the catalyst that escalated the morbid tone in the play.

Ultimately, the several supernatural elements of this play suggest that Macbeth is a fallible individual, suffering from internal conflict as each character in the play including himself is his adversary. He has no regard or sympathy for his friends, Lady Macbeth, and views faultless children as a threat to the only thing he aspires to gain, his sovereignty. Evidently, Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a strategically authored tragedy, taking on a chilling, morbid tone through the wicked and self-abusing character Macbeth. The calamity which overcomes the protagonist in Macbeth is unique, only one of many of Shakespeare’s tragedies and abstractions which covet merited attention.

Updated: Feb 16, 2024
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The Supernatural Characters In The Macbeth Play. (2024, Feb 16). Retrieved from

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