In the plays Hamlet and Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, the supernatural is an integral part of each plot's structure. During the time that William Shakespeare was writing these plays, there was a strong belief by most people in the existence of the supernatural. Thus, the supernatural is a recurring aspect in many of Shakespeare's plays. In two of his plays, Hamlet and Macbeth, the supernatural provides a catalyst for action, an insight into character, and enhances the impact of many key scenes. This essay will investigate the supernatural and beliefs prevalent during Shakespeare's lifetime, the role of the supernatural in Hamlet, the role of the supernatural in Macbeth, and similarities and differences between Hamlet and Macbeth. The role of the supernatural is very important in the development of each of these plays.
The supernatural is classified as the unnatural or the unexplainable mysteries of our universe. In Shakespeare's time, it was common for people to relate any unusual happening to the supernatural, since this was the most simplistic answer to give. Everyone from educated people to the ignorant peasants believed in the supernatural. The Elizabethan English had several beliefs in superstitions. Some of these superstitions included a belief in witches, ghosts, destiny, and the foretelling of the future. One of Shakespeare's plays which deals the most with the supernatural is Macbeth.
In Macbeth, there were many interesting sections, which concentrated on the suspense and the involvement of the supernatural. The supernatural occurred in the appearances of the witches, in the appearance of Banquo's ghost, in the apparitions with their prophecies, and in the "air-drawn" dagger that guides Macbeth towards his victim. Each of these supernatural occurrences help make the play more interesting and suspenseful. .
In the beginning scenes of the play, Macbeth has a confrontation with three witches whom Shakespeare referred to as the Weird Sisters.