My lord, the King your father.
Which are the children of an idle brain, Begot of nothing but vain fantasy, Which is as thin of substance as the air, And more inconstant than the wind… Romeo and Juliet, I, iv, William Shakespeare wrote these lines, but his use of the mythological tradition of otherworldly appearances in his plays is anything but insubstantial.
Sometimes he crafted them as a permeating presence, other times passing rather quickly, but even so still an important representation in the work. Whether the supernatural aspect in is the appearance of a ghost or the description of an ancient god, it often bears a connection to the larger scheme of the play.
Hamlet and Macbeth are both examples in which the supernatural element enters the play at the opening of the action. The witches are the first characters we see in Macbeth, already prophesying and spouting paradoxical sayings. The stormy stage and odd characters establish early that this story occurs within an eerie and unnatural place.
Although the Ghost does not speak and is only onstage briefly, attention is directed toward that strange vision as soon as we meet Horatio. The eager introduction of the otherworldly being does two important things.
One, it makes the audience pay attention.
Two, it creates a somewhat uncomfortable atmosphere as we recognize these plays as stories in which the world is not quite natural. Or in Scotland, as the case may be.
Hamlet is actually the last to see the Ghost of all characters who report the sight. When Macbeth crosses paths with them, Banquo is there as a witness to their presence and their prophecy. When Macbeth approaches the lair of the witches he is alone, and they are the only others present when they show him the visions that describe his defeat.
This could very well be a factor in the portrayal of the madness of Hamlet and Macbeth, or it may attest to the unpredictability of the supernatural — or both. Such visions incite the curiosity of any observers, who want to know whether the sights are real, and to understand their nature.
In Hamlet and Macbeth, the origin of any of these supernatural elements is always questioned, and never determined. The weyard sisters never actually reveal what they are: Hamlet believes that the Ghost is either truly the ghost of his father or a devil, and expresses that doubt even with his resolve.
However, although distrusting the supernatural visions themselves, the characters are put in a position to believe the words of ghosts and witches. Although he never determines the true nature of the spirit, he sees the truth of its words.
When he learns that he has in fact been named Thane of Cawdor, he reasons that the rest of their foresighted speech must be true as well.
This seems a fundamental difference between Hamlet and Macbeth. We see all of these parallels in the dramatic functions of supernatural beings in Hamlet and Macbeth, yet supernatural characters represent different thematic elements of each play.
As previously stated, the nature of the Ghost is continuously questioned. It faces the characters at every turn. Hamlet comes under scrutiny for his actions as others try to determine the cause of his madness.
In many other ways uncertainty rears its head in this play.
Claudius becomes so unsure of what to do about Hamlet, once he suspects that Hamlet knows what he has done, that he ships him off to England. Hamlet offers one of the most famous literary uncertainties known: Here he is questioning the very purpose of existence, and what happens after death, the existential question that no philosopher has yet been able to answer with surety.
The characters at first search for confirmation that the spirit is not a trick of the eyes, and then must wonder at its origins and its intentions. The weyard sisters are illustrations of the duality and paradox that melds reality and fantasy in Macbeth.
Their physical appearance reflects that confusion as well. Very plainly there on the stage for the audience to see, the witches do not share the same kind of existence as Macbeth or Banquo.
They seem instead to exist between the corporeal world and another, less tangible plane, a mingling of being and non-being exemplified by the dagger Macbeth envisions in his hand. The remainder of that speech makes it clear to us that the dagger is not a literal presence, but the sight of it is real enough to Macbeth that it is in question.
The same sort of question occurs in the encounter with the weyard sisters: Their nature is so mysterious as to allow us to believe that they are both.
That duality of being is an important facet of the drama of Macbeth, and it manifests in the concealment of intentions. In this we see the necessity for things not to appear as they are.
This is a prevalent need for Macbeth. His faltering leads him to plead, Stars, hide your fires, Let not light see my black and deep desires; The eye wink at the hand I, iv, The concept of concealment may seem to escape the weyard sisters, as they never hesitate to proclaim their wicked deeds aloud, but they support the theme by hiding their true natures.At the end of A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, Puck appears and says:"If we shadows have offended,Think but this, and all is mended, that you have but slumber'd here While these.
Yet the supernatural can be found throughout Shakespeare's body of work -- early or late, tragedy or comedy. In the case of comedic work, the use of the otherworldly is perhaps most striking in A Midsummer Night's Dream (although witchcraft and the mysterious are recurring motifs in other plays, like The Comedy of Errors).
- The Role of the Supernatural in Shakespeare's Play Macbeth "Macbeth" was a tragedy written by William Shakespeare in Five years after the death of Elizabeth 1st and the accession of James 1st, also James Vi of Scotland.
However, the story is resolved at the end, giving the "dream" the lovers experience a happy ending. Hence, we see that the role of the supernatural is to create a dreamlike state that is actually also a bit spooky and nightmarish, portraying Shakespeare's theme of fantasy vs.
reality. The Role of the Supernatural in Shakespeare In the time of William Shakespeare there was a strong belief in the existence of the supernatural. Thus, the supernatural is a recurring aspect in many of Mr. Shakespeare's plays/5(10).
In the time of William Shakespeare there was a strong belief of witchcraft and the supernatural. Because of this, the supernatural is a recurring aspect in many of Shakespeare's vetconnexx.com provides a catalyst for action, an insight into character, and develops the impact of many key scenes.