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Supernatural & Natural in Macbeth

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This is an essay that shows how symbolic imagery, like the blood that Lady Macbeth sees, ties the supernatural world into the natural & physical world. It ultimately shows that the supernatural is what affects the real world.
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  1 Symbolic Imagery Provides the Connection between the Supernatural and the Natural World in Shakespeare’s Macbeth   Macbeth  is a supernatural tornado in the sense that unworldly objects or people wreak havoc on the protagonist and anyone near him. Shakespeare uses these symbolic images to convey the connection between the supernatural and natural world of man. Most of these supernatural happenings provide evidence that it is indeed fate and not free will that affects Macbeth. This symbolic imagery is present in all actions pertaining to the witches. In addition, the weather in the play Macbeth  also shows a kind of presence tying the supernatural and natural. Finally, the recurring symbol of blood is a key link between what normally happens in our natural world and the eerie presence that affects it. These major manifestations are what give evidence towards the supernatural and natural world maintaining an equilibrium in the play. Shakespeare’s work of Macbeth  shows much involvement from the three evil hags, the witches. These weird sisters have supernatural powers not possessed by any other being. This power, ultimately, changes the ambience of the natural world. During one of their many chants in Macbeth , one of the witches says “Fair is  foul, and foul is fair, / Hover through the fog and the filthy air” (Shakespeare 1.1. 13-14). This proclamation shows that the witches have switched what they believe is fair with foulness. Unfortunately for “Brave Macbeth” ( 1.2. 16), the chants refer to him. They also bizarrely predict, or even manipul ate him to say “So fou l and fair a day I have not se en”, when the audience first sees him in the following scenes (1.3. 36) unbeknownst of the witches’ earlier chan t. According to David L. Kranz: Macbeth cannot have overheard the ‘‘fair is foul’’ antithesis of the witches; instead, it  seems to come to his mind out of the very thick air. Whether readers and audiences infer that Macbeth and the witches speak the same language by mere chance or that the latter’s words have   infiltrated the hero’s  mind simply by proximity, a close and mysterious connection between the hero and the supernatural hags is established well before the actual staged temptation of the  2 former. Thus it is by means of verbal echo, not dramatic confrontation, that Sha kespeare first connects Macbeth to the Weird Sisters. (346) In summary, it can be established that the witches use their supernatural powers to almost force Macbeth to say the “So foul and fair” line, to provide a link to the unworldly power of the witches to the natural man, Macbeth. This indeed shows that it is fate that decides our future. The predictions in Macbeth  show that the witches not only can see the future, but they can adjust it to their liking. As an example, when Macbeth is told his future, the weird sisters tell him “All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Glamis. / All hail Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor. / All hail Macbeth, that shalt be king hereafter” (Shakespeare 1.3. 46 -48). The three witches all accurately depict what Macbeth is and will be. What is interesting is the fact that these predictions manipulate Macbeth to the point where he exclaims “This supernatural soliciting cannot  be ill, cannot be good; if ill, Why hath it given me earnest of success, Commencing in a truth? I am Thane of Cawdor: If good why do I yield to that suggestion whose horrid image doth unfix hair and make my seated heart knock at my ribs, against the use o f nature?” (1.3. 130 -137). Here, Macbeth recognizes the unreal power that the witches unleash upon him. The witch es’  prophecies give Macbeth the choice to accept them or, to perform ghastly deeds to ensure that he will become king (Tufts 173). It is evident that Macbeth already accepts t he witches’ prophecies regardless of how he reacts; therefore the power of prediction is another celestial tool that the witches use to manipulate our protagonist once again. The summoned apparitions are yet another bridge between both worlds. One of these apparitions speaks to Macbeth abo ut how “Macbeth shall never vanquished be until Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill shall come against him” (Shakespeare 4.1. 91 -92). The importance of this prophecy is that Macbeth ignores the supernatural suggestion and still moves to Dunsinane to defend himself, despite “the prophecies of the apparitions created by the witches in 4.1...  which imply a kind of natural movement towards Dunsinane which threatens Macbeth” (Kranz 365 -366). Ignoring the ghastly  3 suggestions, he angers the supernatural; this changes the predicted path and natural world. This shows off the connection that fate is what affects Macbeth and his choices. Not only do human-beings provide a suitable connection, but the extreme weather shows that the supernatural world affects Macbeth’s world. It is first shown when there is thunder and lightning present when the three witches enter (Shakespeare 1.1.). In the presence of transcendental beings on the natural world, there is a disturbance of sorts. It is as if there is too much supernatural power present, so the weather must counteract the reactant in excess. In doing so, yet another link between the two is shown- one of symmetry and balance. The weather during th e night of King Duncan’s murder was another sign , as well. As Macbeth says to Lennox, “’Twas a rough night” (2.3. 53) , for the fact of frequent storming during the evening of the murder. Hibbs states that the weather has the “potentiality which is the source of the energy which makes it possible for [Macbeth] to drain the unity, truth and goodness  –  being itself- both from *Macbeth+ and from *his+ world” (348). The potentiality of the storm is enough fuel for Macbeth to commit the deed of murder that night- there is nothing positive happening outside, so may as well let it be the same inside. Once again, the storm is a murderous fuel, which leads the supernatural to influence murder that night. The witches, the masters of the supernatural, control the weather to create natural chaos. During one of their catty chants, they cackle “When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” (Shakespeare 1.1. 1 -2). They speak this as if they have a say in the weather, which they do. Kranz implies that “Other paradoxes have often been seen as linguistic reflections of the witches’ diabolical purpose to create not just stormy weather but cosmological disorders of great magnitude” (350). This is for the fact that many situations in the play of Macbeth  often have appropriate weather according to the scene. It can be summarized that the play of Macbeth  often has appropriate weather  4 attributes some of the worldly events to unworldly weather, which provides yet another connection between both sides of the spectrum. Events that associate themselves with blood in Macbeth  have unworldly values along with worldly ones. This statement is true when it comes to Macbeth’s  hallucination of the dagger. As a last chance to question himself on whether to commit murder or not, he imagines an illusionary bloody dagger and asks “Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee... and on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, which was not so before” ( Shakespeare 2.1. 33-47). Not only does Macbeth see this ghostly image, but this ghostly image associates him with witchcraft (Kranz 360). This vision solemnly convinces him that this dagger represents his plot to murder, and because this apparition of unworldly blood comes with the dagger that this murder will happen. Therefore, ghostly blood links thoughts in Macbeth ’s  mind to murdering Duncan, majorly affecting the fate of Macbeth. The answering of a prayer of sorts is a short connection between mystical and the normal. In order to perform acts of evil thought to be in association with men, Lady Macbeth asks “come, you spirits/ that tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here/ And fill me from the crown to the toe topfull/ Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood” ( Shakespeare 1.5. 43-44). The supernatural spirits answer Lady Macbeth’s request because of the murder is carried out. With adjustments to her blood being made, a link to the supernatural with Lady M acbeth’s real world blood form a link of fate. Lady Macbeth’s bloody hands play a major role as a supernatural binder of the play of Macbeth. During her sleepwalking, Lady Macbeth proclaims to a doctor and a gentlewoman “Out, *damn+ spot! Out, I say! One, two. Why then ‘tis time do’t... What need we fear? Who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old m an to have had so much blood in him?” (5.1. 30-34). This scene is of upmost importance because this is a rare glimpse of what is going through Lady Mac beth’s mind, symbolized by her unsuccessful attempt at hand washing (Kranz 360). The
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