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Macbeth and the Supernatural

            Supernatural occurrences in The Tragedy of Macbeth.
             In Shakespeare's play, The Tragedy of Macbeth, Macbeth is a hero that is plagued with many internal feelings, which eventually lead to his defeat. His downfall is due in part to ambition and fearfulness that is created by specific episodes in the play. The main root of all this ambition and fearfulness is the occurrences of supernatural events throughout the story. The main occurrences that take place, and that also shape Macbeth's development, are supernatural episodes that are also symbolic of the ambition Macbeth faces. The first set of prophecies by the Witches (1.3.49) is the beginning of the shift in Macbeth's behavior. The appearance of the dagger (2.1.33) and Banquo's ghost at the feast (3.4.88) also play a role in Macbeth's guilt. The last supernatural occurrence that takes place is again involving the witches and their apparitions (4.1.71). The supernatural occurrences in the story help to generate Macbeth's ambition and lead him to his own defeat.
             In Act 1, when Macbeth and Banquo joined the three witches upon the heath, the witches gave Macbeth and Banquo some predictions of the future. They proclaimed Macbeth to be "Thane of Glamis", "Thane of Cawdor", and "King" (1.3.49). Somehow the witches knew he was presently Thane of Glamis, but Macbeth was puzzled to why the witches predicted him to be Thane of Cawdor, for the present Thane of Cawdor was alive and well. The prediction that he was to be king was totally preposterous to him, until the current Thane of Cawdor was guilty of a crime, and Macbeth was crowned. The witches also predicted that Banquo's children would be kings by stating, "Thou shalt get kings, though thou be none". The supernatural occurrences in this scene act as a foreshadowing for the events to come. The future conflicts that are foreshadowed start with the witches" prediction for Banquo. If Macbeth is to be king in the future, Banquo's children will somehow have to get to the throne.

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