Lady Macbeth as a “fiend like queen”

Is Lady Macbeth a fiend like queen like Malcolm suggests? What do you think?

**This essay was done after a lesson on developing my own personal voice. So although the structure isn’t so much back and forth as usual, there is still AO3 by developing my OWN personal voice as well as giving some alternative interpretations within my own argument.

Lady Macbeth- a “fiend like queen?” I love this picture, although it seems a tad bias considering the essay title!

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It is no wonder that Malcolm’s appellation reveals Lady Macbeth as a “fiend like queen” and her husband, Macbeth, “the dead butcher.” After all, it is Lady Macbeth who goads on the death of his father, King Duncan. More importantly, it is the deceptively satanic queen, and the falsely labelled “butcher” that ultimately jeopardise Malcolm’s rightful descending title of “King.” Thus, Malcolm’s epithet appears fully justified; but perhaps in retrospect, Lady Macbeth’s character is far from the one-sided, villainous connotations that a “fiend” entails. Despite appearing to completely transgress against social convention through rejecting her maternal instincts; Lady Macbeth’s sudden expression of humanity and protection of her husband, allow us to conclude that Lady Macbeth is not merely just a “fiend like queen.”

Lady Macbeth is presented as purely fulfilling the role of a loyal wife. Through commanding her husband imperative verbs such as “sleep,” “wash [your hands]” and “speak not,” she associates herself with the comforting gestures a mother offers a child. By ordering Macbeth to complete these actions, Lady Macbeth is in actual fact protecting him from the guilt and insanity that blood is often associated with, seen through many parts in the play. Lady Macbeth has no doubt that her husband has good intentions, rightfully so, she questions Macbeth being too “full of th’ milk” of human kindness” to murder. It could then be argued that Lady Macbeth is weary about the sight of innocent blood on Macbeth’s hands having the potential to remind Macbeth of his own humanity, and thus Macbeth could potentially rethink his (already uncertain) decision to murder the king, therefore by asking Macbeth to “get” some water to “wash this filthy witness from [his hand]” Lady Macbeth is simply encouraging Macbeth to avoid the possibility of hindering his own position as “King.” Additionally, the banquet scene in Act 3 scene 4 further expresses this view of Lady Macbeth as a maternal and supportive figure, rather than an inhumane “fiend.” Also visually presented in the 1978 version of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth appears to shield her husband, scolding guests “Goodnight!” whilst ordering her husband to “speak not; I pray you”: Lady Macbeth is defensive over her husband, and strongly protects himself from tarnishing his professional image as “King” in which case, the supernatural sightings of Banquo’s ghost would have lead the guests to label Macbeth as ‘mad’ rather than a ‘noble’ King. Despite some views that might believe that Lady Macbeth is selfishly manipulating Macbeth in order to make herself queen instead of wanting the best for her husband, the evidence suggests that the loss of her child that she has “given suck” forces the mourning queen to channel her maternal grievance into an overwhelming pursuit into making Macbeth king. It is then reasonable to argue that Lady Macbeth transgresses beyond traditional “ambition” due to the inconsolable loss of a child, and as a result: wanting to fully pursue the role of a supportive and encouraging mother by using her husband who similarly possesses qualities reminiscent of a child such as vulnerability and indecisiveness and thus Lady Macbeth automatically falls into playing the more controlling, motherly role.

Whilst Lady Macbeth is certainly seen as the catalyst stimulating the death of King Duncan, Banquo, Macduff’s family and Young Siward, the distressed queen’s sudden instances of humanity can neither be ignored. Lady Macbeth cannot merely play a “fiend” due to the satanic and inhumane connotations the term implies. Fiend, being one that lends itself to the characteristics of the Devil, does not certainly express the same feelings of guilt, madness and a conscience in the same way Lady Macbeth does. Unusual, for the once decisive woman, Lady Macbeth’s character presents a side of humanity to the audience: by expressing that she would have murdered Duncan “had he not resembled [her] father whilst he slept.” Ironically, the ‘former’ Lady Macbeth was seen to “shame” wearing a pure heart, considering emotion as a form weakness in Macbeth, and therefore the character is projected as contradicting herself whereby Shakespeare is able to emphasise her humanity in this scene. Ironically, by Lady Macbeth showing a flaw in her emotionless exterior by controverting herself, Shakespeare allows this event to stand out amongst the deceptively evil behaviour of Lady Macbeth in previous acts: this quote is then pivotal in marking the progression of a ‘transformed’ Lady Macbeth, apparent from the downward spiral into madness from here. However, it could also be argued that Lady Macbeth is far from morally humane or even transformed in this scene. Some may say that despite an instance of humanity, the idea that Lady Macbeth goes on to “gild the faces of the grooms withal” shortly after, presenting Lady Macbeth as still very much tactical and satanic enough to frame two innocent guards. Despite this however, Lady Macbeth could be seen as trying to avoid acknowledging the degree of her evil, revealed by consoling Macbeth “these deeds must not be thought(…)it will make us mad” thus: Lady Macbeth is only able to frame the innocent guards not because she is a “fiend” but because the character is prevented from facing the reality of her actions and therefore stripped from the ‘reality check’ often needed to provoke remorse.

 It is unreasonable to conclude any character that allows their guilt to completely consume them, resulting in death, a “fiend like queen.” Lady Macbeth is merely used as tool to provoke disruption in the narrative of Macbeth as a matter of coincidence, whereby her actions of humanity and remorse are much more suitable to describe the Queen. To conclude, through her instances of conscience, Lady Macbeth is far from the demonic connotations the term “fiend” entails.

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“Brave Macbeth” to “dead butcher”. Butchery or Bravery in Macbeth?

This was a marked and timed essay I did. This picture made me laugh 🙂

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A butcher is one that kills without a conscience. Thus when Malcolm calls Macbeth a “dead butcher” it becomes clear that Shakespeare has more than established between “bravery” and ruthless murder. However, Macbeth appears to fall in to both, and therefore the ever-changing complexity neither conforms to either a “brave” soldier or a foolish murderer.

It is unreasonable to argue that Macbeth is a butcher due to his unjust killings. Macbeth is far from contained after the murder of Duncan, crying “Macbeth hath murdered sleep. Certainly in this scene, Macbeth’s conscience totally consumes him and therefore Shakespeare takes away the carnal necessities away, in this case-sleep. The use of losing sleep totally detaches Macbeth from any form of restoration, by stripping him away from the base needs of a human. In other words, Macbeth becomes aware that he is no longer allowed what have now become the luxuries of life. This idea is certainly echoed further on after Duncan’s death, as Shakespeare allows the audience to gain an insight into the eponymous villain of the play. “Better to be with the dead”- Macbeth’s conscience, again, consumes him as he now envies the corpse of Duncan for being at “peace” ironically though, after the metaphorical “gates of hell” he has created for himself. Macbeth simply cannot be a ruthless butcher with a guilt that has the ability to eternally disrupt any form of equilibrium for himself.

However, as with all Gothic protagonists, things are not as ‘black or white’ as they appear. A modern day reading of the play would certainly suggest that Macbeth’s taunt is an uncontrollable action of the mind, a long with the “black and deep desires” that seem to push Macbeth into transgressing beyond social conventions. It could then be argued that the personification revolving around “murdering sleep” is a metaphor to project Macbeth’s latent “deep” ambition. Through “murdering” sleep, Macbeth subconsciously murders Duncan, as ambitions of becoming King are the true ‘dreams’ of this tyrant. Therefore, a Freudian interpretation of this may well debate that although it is his guilt that allows Macbeth to fall into this disempowerment, it is actually all a consequence of his initial “dark[est] desires” and therefore, Macbeth is a true butcher at heart.

Deceivingly though, our initial introduction to Macbeth may not appear to be as brutal as it seems. Despite the “brave Macbeth” showing us no apparent hesitation at “unseaming [the traitor] from the nave to th’ chaps”, the statement is only as reliable as the “bloody captain” who delivered it. Here, the blood on the captain foreshadows the similarly fractured comments he makes. Macbeth is no by means showing bravery, even through the use of the verb “unseam” Shakespeare comments on his unsuitability for the role. The word “unseam” instantly foregrounds a feminine movement of sowing, and therefore Macbeth is only as brave and brutal as literature in the early 1700’s would allow females to be. Thus Macbeth only shows no remorse or hesitation when defeating “the enemy” or moreover, when he feels that he has a worthy enough justification to hide behind. In other words, Macbeth allows the fact he is murdering on behalf of his nobility to the King, to work as a mask to hide behind his uncomfortable attitude of the cold blooded murder.

However, could Macbeth’s ruthless and frivolous action of killing Macduff’s wife and children showcase another side of this complex protagonist? Indeed, the futile murder of a “wife and babes” appears to have no purpose and therefore illustrates the epitome of a butcher in Macbeth. Certainly, the fact this command has been set post-prophecy, adds to the ruthless brutality of Macbeth. Even after hearing the witch’s prophecy “none of woman born shall harm Macbeth” it becomes clear that Macbeth’s murder of innocent people is done out of spite, and therefore he displays no conscience in doing so.

Ultimately, due to the murder of Macduff’s family taking place post prophecy, it is clear that Macbeth has inherited a sense of false security. Despite appearing invincible, Macbeth is far from it. He allows himself to carry out these unjust actions in order to fulfil the criteria of what Lady Macbeth views to be a man: carelessly “dash[ing] the brains” of a baby, and “sham[ing] to wear a heart so white.” Therefore, Macbeth’s deceptive actions of butchery are merely a way of falsely fulfilling these “borrowed robes”. In other words, these murders are not frivolous, but strategic in ensuring security for Macbeth.

Teacher comments:

AO1: well structured and varied. Aim for concise precise!

AO2:Try to include analysis of form. Good focus on specific analysis.

AO3:Clear debate throughout. Don’t be afraid to pursue your own point of view.

AO4:Integrated and relevant.

General feedback: This was really interesting to read! (especially your section on “unseamed” 😀 )

You could consider the fact that he only actually commits one murder himself?

Mad, Bad and Dangerous

**Disclaimer: I apologise for any typos. This was initially a written essay that I typed up for the purpose of uploading on to WordPress and therefore I was a bit rushy doing it.

The cynical trio of “mad, bad and dangerous” alludes from the description of the wicked Lord Byron: but to what extent do these terms address the often complex and dimensional Gothic villains in Macbeth? To say that Lady Macbeth or even the eponymous protagonist of the play adhere to either one or all three is far too reductionist, as with many other Gothic villains-these characters are far too complicated to be labelled thus.

Shakespeare utilises dramatic techniques such as the soliloquy to allow readers into the mind set of the solitary speaker. In act 2 scene 1, Macbeth’s acclaimed ‘dagger’ soliloquy readers “hear not my steps, which way they walk.” Too well, he knows the extent of his own evil. The command “hear not” certainly embodies a conscious within the character, suggested he is aware of the sin he will shortly commit, thus , Macbeth is undoubtedly ‘bad.’ Indeed, this scene lends itself to the supernatural, adding to the equivocation surrounding a palpable dagger by accompanying it with a Gothic villain appearing to envy the untraceable appearance of ghosts, whishing his steps were undetectable. The fact Macbeth is aware of his transgression beyond social conventions allows the reader to totally embrace the title ‘bad’ hand in hand with questions such as ‘let me clutch [the dagger]’ Macbeth appears to set up his own fall, he is damned for an ill ending.

However, typical of Gothic literature- not all appears black or white. The equivocation frequently expressed during the dagger speech can neither be ignored. It could also be argued that Macbeth is merely a victim of the supernatural. Perhaps the ‘handle towards [his hand’ is the message that Shakespeare is truly trying to convey, as this shows that the dagger is coming “towards” Macbeth and thus taunts Macbeth into committing regicide, opposed to being a true dark and “deep” desire. Nevertheless, Macbeth neither conforms with nor rebels against the title ‘bad.’

As with most Gothic villains, madness is also a dominant criteria that allows readers to establish characters into those who they empathise with or those which they loathe. Certainly, this appears to be the case with Lady Macbeth, as this “fiend like queen” depicts a true downfall from now deceptive sanity, into madness. The recurring motif of the “knocking at the gate” instantly associates Lady Macbeth with the drunken Porter of the “gates of Hell”: in which Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are the king and queen of Hell. Yet, this connection is established only to the very ear end for Lady Macbeth, and thus contrasts with the manipulative and decisive character. Typically, during the Elizabethan era, Doctors were called in to control madness, offering herbs and treatments to compensate for insanity. Therefore, the use of the Doctor in Lady Macbeth’s final scene certainly lends to Lady Macbeth’s madness as the contemporary audience would have easily been able to identify the Doctor as a symbol for madness opposed to the modern audience, likely to associate a Doctor with casual illness.

 However, Lady Macbeth’s madness had not always been a prevailing aspect of her character. At the start of the play, readers had been able to establish Lady Macbeth as the dominant one in the marriage and therefore considered her to be sane before her decent into madness. It could be argued that in order to criticise another, it is important to first be self-critical- therefore through Lady Macbeth commenting that she ‘fear[s] thy nature’ it shows that by recognising Macbeth may be too “full of human  kindness” Lady Macbeth is self-critical of herself against others, and thus must be sane to recognise the difference. The character of Lady Macbeth is able to employ moral into the play: once boundaries transgress into madness, punishment lies ahead. Therefore, similar to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth does not totally fit in to ‘mad’ due to her gradual progression in to the role.

As the audience, we have been able to see Macbeth’s capability for danger from the very start. As the bloody captain delivers Macbeth “unseamed him from the nave to th’ chaps” – it is no secret that Macbeth has the potential for brutality” Surely, the idea that the first time the audience are introduced to Macbeth he is arriving back from battle suggests something of his character. Shakespeare makes it clear the character Macbeth was prior to the prophecy, and yet, we still question Macbeth as a true threat. Despite Macbeth being heavily associated with brutality and gore, even in the first few acts, it could also be said that Macbeth appears to be deceivingly dangerous. Macbeth displays this struggle by not even being able to pronounce the word murder and uses the euphemism of “bloody business”. The idea that he is unable to say the word suggests he cannot come to terms with such sin in his mind and therefore completely detaches himself from being dangerous. It could be said that Macbeth feels ashamed about his actions, or has totally become ignorant to reality and therefore evokes an unclear split between his inherit danger, or being a victim of Lady Macbeth’s ambition. Macbeth’s disconnected and duplicity character definitely meets the criteria of a typical Gothic protagonist and their frequent inner battle.

Villains in Macbeth share the common cloak of duality and complexity often expected of Gothic protagonists. The ever-changing mind set and progression of Shakespeare’s character neither counter nor completely adhere to ‘mad bad and dangerous’; in true gothic fashion.

Mad, Bad and Dangerous- Macbeth

The cynical trio of “mad, bad and dangerous” alludes from the description of the wicked Lord Byron: but to what extent do these terms address the oftencomplex and dimensional Gothic villains in Macbeth? To say that Lady Macbeth or even the eponymous protagonist of the play adhere to either one or all three is far too reductionist, as with many other Gothiv villains-these characters are far too complicated to be labelled thus.

Shakespeare utilisies dramatic techniques such as the soliloquy to allow readers into the mind set of the solitary speaker. In act 2 scene 1, Macbeth’s acclaimed ‘dagger’ soliloquy readers “hear not my steps, which way they walk.” Too well, he knows the extent of his own evil. The command “hear not!! certainly embodies a conscious within the character, suggested he is aware of the sin he will shortly commit, thus , Macbeth is doubtebdly ‘bad.’ Indeed, this scene lends it self to the supernatural, adding to the equivocation surrounding a palpable dagger by accompanyign it with a Gothic villain appearing to envy the untraceable appearance of ghosts, whishing his teps where indetectable. The fact MAcbeth is aware of his transgression beyond social conventions allows the reader to totally embrace the title ‘bad# hand in hand with questions such as ‘let me clutch [the dagger]’ Macbeth appears to set up his own fall, he is damned for an ill ending.

However, typical of Gothic literature- nto all appears black or white. The equivocation frequently expressed during the dagger spech can neither be ignored. It could also be argued that Macbeth is merely a victim of the supernatural. Perhaps the ‘handle towards [his hand’ is the message that Shakespeare is truly trying to convey, as this shows that the dagger is coming “towards” Macbeth and thus taunts Macbeth into comitting regicide, opposed to being a true dark and “deep” desire. Nevertheless, Macbeth neither confroms with or rebels against the title ‘bad.’

As with most Gothic villains, madness is also a dominant criteria that allows readers to establish characters into those who they empathise with or those which they loathe. Certainly, this appears to be the case with Lady Macbeth, as this “fiend like queen” depicts a true downfall from now deceptive sanity, into madness. The reccurring motif of the “knocking at the gate” iinstantly associates Lady Macbeth with the drunken Porter of the “gates of Hell”: in which Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are the king and queen of Hell. Yet, this connection is established only to the very ear end for Lady Macbeth, and thus contrasts with the manipulative and decisive character. Typically, during the Elizeaneathean era, Doctors were called in to control madness, offering herbs and traetmnets to compensate for insanity. Therefore, the use of the Doctor in Lady Macbeth’s final scene certainly lends to Lady Macbeth’s madness as the contemporary audience would have easily been able to identify the Doctor as a symbol for madness opposed to the mordern audience, likely to associate a Doctor with casual illness.

However, Lady Macbeth’s madness had not always been a prevailing aspect of her character. At the start of the play, readers had been able toestablish Lady Macbeth as the dominant one in the marriage and therefore considered her to be sane before herdecent into madness. It could be argued that in order to criticise another, it is important to first be self critical- therefore through Lady Macbeth commenting that she ‘fear[s] thy nature’ it shows that by recognising Macbeth may be too “full of human  kindness” Lady Macbeth is self critical of herself against others, and thus must be sane to recgonise the difference. The character of Lady Macbeth is able to employ moral into the play: once boundaries transgress into madness, punishment lies ahead. Therefore, similar to Macbeth, Lady Macbeth does not totally fit ino to ‘mad’ due to her gradual progression in to the role.

As the audience, we have been able to see Macbeth’s capability for danger from the very start. As the bloody captain delivers Macbeth “uneamed him from the nave to th’ chaps” – it is no secret that Macbeth has the potential for brutality” Surely, the idea that the first time the audience are introduced to Macbeth heis arriving back from battle suggests something of his character. Shakespeare maeks it clear the character MAcbeth was prior to the phropehcy, and yet, we still question Macbeth as a true threat. Despite Macbeth being heavily associated with brutality and gore, even in the first few acts, it could also be said that Macbeth appears to be decievingly dangerous. Macbeth displays this struggle by not even being able to pronounce the word murder and uses the euphemism of “bloody business”. The idea that he is unable to say the word suggests he cannot come to terms with such sin in his mind and therefore comlpetely detaches himself from being dangerous. It could be said that Macbeth feels ashame about his actions, or has totally become ignorant to reality and therefore evokes an unclear split beween his inheret danger, or being a victim of Lady Macbeth’s ambition. Macbeth’s disconnected and duplicit character definierely meets the criteria of a typical Gothic protagonist and their frequent inner battle.

Villains in Macbeth share the common cloak of duality and complexity often expected of Gothic protagonistts. The everchanging mind set and progression of Shakespeare’s character neither counter nor compltely adhere to ‘mad bad and dangerous’; in true gothic fashion. 

Consider the significance of darkness and concealment in the play. (Macbeth) June 2012

Recently, I have been feeling as though I’d abandoned Macbeth for The Bloody Chamber on this blog. (Hence, the random jump from Carter to Shakespeare) This question has been taken from the June 2012 paper.

Consider the significance of darkness and concealment in the play. Macbeth – William Shakespeare

Through the use of darkness and concealment, Shakespeare not only serves the purpose of lending the play to the Gothic genre, but both elements also work as a catalyst in order to trigger future events in Macbeth.

Darkness is heavily sighted as being associated with evil in the play, seen in Lady Macbeth’s monologue. The femme fatale character calls “come,thick night” when she asks to be unsexed by “spirits.” Here, Shakespeare associates night time with the unnatural and thus comments on how darkness can sometimes cloak the “human kindness” in a person. Here, night time is used to mask the kindness associated with femininity, and therefore Lady Macbeth is able to cloak herself in “thick” darkness in order to become a key component in Duncan’s death. This is significant in revealing character in Macbeth. It could be argued that Lady Macbeth calling on the “dunnest smoke of hell” to fill her with evil suggests that she incapable of such brutality, and needs the supernatural to assist her. Thus, Lady Macbeth is not wholly corrupted as it is the darkness of the night that gives her the ability to be a bearer of such evil. On the other hand, it may also be argued that this in fact enhances Lady Macbeth’s inner dark side. The idea that she consciously recognises the need for “murdering ministers” to provide her with the support to assist Macbeth in regicide certainly falls in favour of arguing that she willingly has the desire for help from the darker realms, making her more evil for actually wanting to be tainted by the poisonous associations of “darkness” in the play.

In addition, concealment is a significant device employed into the plot of Macbeth. In Act 3 scene 2, Macbeth hides his dark plans away from Lady Macbeth. Through concealment, Shakespeare allows readers to gain an insight to the ever-changing relationship between the couple. Macbeth tells his wife to “be innocent of the knowledge” and thus refuses to reveal any more of the plot. Indeed, it could be argued that Macbeth has developed mistrust in their relationship and has become aware that “loyalty” may not be what it seems; self-acknowledged, shown by his attitude towards Banquo. By insisting that she “present [Banquo] eminence” at the banquet, Shakespeare echoes a similar in tone with the way Macbeth questions Banquo. Through emphasising Banquo’s presence at the feast to both characters, Macbeth learns that loyalty can be deceiving and therefore he needs to keep Lady Macbeth in the dark as she may interfere with his plans. This is mirrored earlier in the scene, where Macbeth says “we have scorched the snake, not killed it” and conclusively reveals he is conscious about the “former tooth” that could hinder his plan.

Acts 17:11 in the Bible quotes that “sin grows in the dark.” Act 3 Scene 3 in Macbeth certainly seems to argue the latter. When the “first Murderer strikes out the light,” Banquo dies. Not only does this provide a technical function to the live play, but symbolises a downward spiral of events for Macbeth’s venture in becoming King. Thus, darkness is significant in foreshadowing Macbeth’s fall as it becomes the setting for many evil events such as murder, witchcraft and the calling upon dark spirits. Banquo’s death symbolises a broken friendship, as well as provides a stimulus in order to trigger redemption in Macbeth. Certainly, it is believed that Banquo’s ghost highlights the guilt in Macbeth, and therefore the metaphorical darkness that Macbeth experiences through the event is important in serving a purposeful function in the play. This is also evident in Lady Macbeth’s monologue, as she cries “Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell.” Here, Shakespeare uses the darkness of the night to equip Lady Macbeth with the ability to persuade Macbeth to murder. In addition, Shakespeare associates night time with the “dunnest smoke of hell” and therefore alludes to the idea of darkness being a place for evil, as the female Gothic uses it to cloak her feminine instincts. It could be argued that through this darkness is used as a matter to reveal character as it cannot be said that Lady Macbeth is wholly evil. The fact Lady Macbeth has to call on the darkness of the supernatural in order to help her, shows that she is not as capable of evil as she appears; shown later in her spiral of madness that leads to her eventual death.

Conversely, it can also be said that although darkness and equivocation play a significant role in the play, it is not as important as the supernatural. Some may say that it is through the weird sisters that these chains of events occur; therefore, if Macbeth had not learned the prophecies from the witches: he would not have to be set on a serial event of murders.

Although it is the witches that ultimately trigger these events, it is the darkness behind the intentions of the weird sisters that are able to contaminate the “milk of human kindness” in Macbeth, and the concealment of inner desires that finally set Macbeth in an inescapable chain of events.

Macbeth Act 3 Revision Quotes

arqshah act 3

(Please click to see larger)

Hi all! I have created this revision mind map full of quotes from Act 3. It is a really vital scene so to keep up with all the action I have broken the mind map down into: lightness and darkness, supernatural, duplicity, inner turmoil and death. Each section is colour coded, with additional pink nodes on specific quotes that I have briefly explained myself. Happy Revising!

How do you respond to the view that the supernatural elements in Macbeth represent Macbeth’s own internal struggles?

How do you respond to the view that the supernatural elements in Macbeth represent Macbeth’s own internal struggles?

This is a past question from the “Tuesday 24 January 2012” paper. It includes an introduction and the first two sections: the witches and the ghost of Banquo. I will complete this later 😀 If you have any tips on how I can improve my essay, please comment! 😀

Despite Macbeth being written long before what is traditionally accepted as the first gothic novel: “The Castle of Ortranto,” it is not to say that Gothic elements such as the supernatural do not exist in Shakespeare’s plays. It could be argued that Macbeth’s inner turmoil is often expressed through the use of magic realism and the supernatural, however; the character of Macbeth is much too complex to make such straight forward statements.

In act 1 scene 1, the audience are introduced to the typical supernatural feature of three “wyrd” sisters. To the modern audience, the connotations of “weird” suggest themes of unusual and the uncanny; however, to the audience during the period of 1606, the term “wyrd” reflects the belief of fate and serendipity. Through the use of the question “when shall we three meet again?”- asked by the First Witch, Shakespeare immediately portrays the sisters as having power over natural order. In this case: the sisters being able to determine weather. Therefore, the audience are likely to envisage the witches as devices for potential corruption, and predict them as a stimulus for evil. It could be argued that the supernatural element of the witches represent Macbeth’s inner stuggle, as later on in Act 2 Scene 1, Macbeth cries “The handle toward my hand? Come let me clutch thee.” By asking if the dagger is the handle coming “towards” his hand, Shakespeare suggests that it is the dagger that taunts Macbeth into committing regicide, as opposed to being his own inner evil force of the mind. In their abhorrence to nature, the witches become a tool of delivering Macbeth’s fate, and therefore use their power to torment the troubled and perplexed Macbeth with a dagger “before [him].” The witches could be seen as conjuring up an evil plan in order to set up Macbeth’s fall. Here, the sisters’ power over natural order is reflected by Macbeth calling “Thou marshall’st me the way that I was going,” echoing the idea of losing the ability to stay in control.

The ghost of Banquo becomes a fundamental element in portraying Macbeth’s transgression from guilt to madness. Shakespeare uses the ghost to reveal the level of disruption in the character of Macbeth, as well as evoking a number of different responses from the audience. Certainly, the ghost of Banquo is purposeful in fulfilling conventions of the Gothic by instilling fear into the reader; but is Shakespeare trying to do much more than that? In act III scene IV, Macbeth cries “Which of you have done this?” suggesting he is conscious of the consequences of murdering Banquo: revenge. Indeed, sighting the ghost of an old “friend” at the dinner table in itself reflects the inner destruction of Macbeth’s character, as well as projecting a questionable feeling of guilt and madness. Macbeth’s false visions reflect his feeling of guilt, as he is unable to let go of the sins he has committed and therefore begins to evoke an almost sympathetic response from readers.

 

 

Certainly, another definite supernatural feature of Macbeth is the use of the prophecies. It could be argued that the purpose of the apparitions are much more than to merely deliver Macbeth’s fate. The first apparition appears showing Macbeth’s head; despite it reflecting Macbeth’s later destiny, this apparition also mirrors Macbeth’s inner fear of Macduff that readers are gradually presented with,