Supernatural Influence on Macbeth’s Actions

Macbeth by William Shakespeare is an acknowledged catastrophe. It is known for its aggressive characters and an appealing plot. In the play, there was an extreme change in the characters, particularly Macbeth. The play begins with Macbeth’s fearlessness in the battlefield defending his country.  Following the prophecies from the three witches, Macbeth, with the influence from Lady Macbeth, made several bad decisions. This essay will focus on the extent to which the supernatural impacted Macbeth’s behavior.

In Macbeth, the supernatural is the influencing force following Macbeth ‘s actions and an indispensable part of the plot structure. The supernatural occurs in various ways: the three witches, four apparitions, and Banquo ‘s ghost. The supernatural plays the role of demonstration of vicious temptation that lures Macbeth into killing his colleagues. Macbeth, who was previously a hero, turned into a crooked, brutal man who would eradicate all that were a threat to him. His encounter with the witches provoked his desire of murdering his comrades; the second was the soundness of judgment to meander off to a murder ‘s mindset with the look of Banquo’s ghost. The third was the encounter with the apparitions, which made Macbeth develop the feeling of guilt and uncertainty. The supernatural performed a huge role that prompted Macbeth’s action to the point where his integrity became flawed.

The three witches corrupted his mind with the prophecies. Macbeth became greedy and brought out the immoral aspects of his soul. After the first prophecy came to pass, Macbeth then acknowledges the thought of killing Duncan which marked his first stride on the course of his downfall, as planned by the Three Witches. The Three Witches scheme has succeeded. Macbeth developed excessive greed, provoking him to make a very influential decision – to assassinate King Duncan.  When King Duncan come to Macbeth’s castle, Lady Macbeth convinces Macbeth that the King’s guards are drunk. She asks Macbeth to kill the king, but Macbeth is fond of Duncan and does not want to murder him. His greed to be the king consumed him. A supernatural dagger floats ahead of him pointing to King Duncan’s bedroom. Macbeth eventually stabs Duncan. When he comes back, he was holding the murder weapon covered with blood. Lady Macbeth plants the bloody murder weapon on Duncan’s drunk guards.  When Macduff found King Duncan dead, everyone was dismayed. Macbeth kills the king’s guards claiming that he was angry at them before the lords could arrest them. Macbeth was made the king of Scotland after Duncan’s sons ran away.

In Act Three, Scene 3, Banquo is killed by assassins. Even though Macbeth killed Duncan and took the throne, he is not feeling at peace.  He is troubled that one day he will be a suspect and that Banquo is aware of a lot. Keeping in mind that Banquo was present when the witches declared the prophecy about Macbeth taking the throne, they also prophesied that Banquo’s son would be king. Macbeth could not kill Banquo and Fleance- Banquo’s son- himself since they were friends and had mutual friends. Macbeth hires assassins to do it. At the time when Banquo and his son were o their way back from their ride, Macbeth’s assassins were waiting for them. As Banquo and Fleance were strolling to the palace, the assassins ambushed them. When they attack Banquo, he commands his son to leave by shouting, “O treachery! Fly, good Fleance, fly, fly, fly! Thou may ‘st revenge —O slave!” Shakespeare, (19). To Macbeth “to be thus is nothing/But to be safely thus” (p. 42).

There is continues indiscretion and uneasiness between Macbeth and his wife after they decided to have Banquo murdered. Macbeth and his wife attended a banquet, and Banquo’s ghost appears. The spirit which had arisen when the assassins informed Macbeth that Banquo is dead. The visions made Macbeth behave weirdly, making people doubtful of his actions. (Act III, Scene VI, ll.31). The usage of the supernatural has heightened the anxiety now that Macbeth is often relying on the revelation of the three witches. The witches intend to lead Macbeth to his breakdown by developing over-confidence in him. (Act III, Scene V, ll.1-35).            Additionally, in the play, Macbeth goes to the witches’ cave and requests to know what is in the future. The three witches envision what he wanted to ask and invented the first ghost which was an armed head. “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware of Macduff; beware thane of Fife. Dismiss me: enough.” (Act VI, Scene I, ll.77). The first ghost informs Macbeth to be careful with Macduff.

Then the second ghost (a bloody child), emerges and asserts “Be bloody, bold, and resolute; laugh to scorn the power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth.” (Act IV, Scene I, ll.86). This specter notifies Macbeth that no one sired by a woman can anguish him. The last ghost shows up, and it is a crowned child, holding a tree. The specter asserted that Macbeth would never be conquered till Great Birnam wood shall affront him to High Dunsinane Hill. “Be lion melted, proud, and take no care Who chafes, who frets, or where conspirers are: Macbeth shall never vanquish be until Great Birnam wood to High Dunsinane Hill shall come against him.” (Act VI, Scene I, ll. 98). The apparitions made Macbeth think that this was his destiny and he was full of confidence. His overconfidence leads to his death.

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a play focused on antagonistic forces trying to gain power in the throne of Scotland. Macbeth, in the beginning, is a brave and ethical man, who fought for his country. Nevertheless, one may recognize that Macbeth has a darker side, he is hungry for power and bloodthirsty, and nothing will stop him from securing the throne as king of Scotland. Though Macbeth may be an autocrat, he is very ignorant, unsuspecting, and liable. Macbeth is defenseless and can be convinced by many characters all through the play, for instance, his wife and the three witches. His vulnerability is the first indication that he is not as brilliant as others. One can notice the degradation of Macbeth and his mental health. The event that provoked his mental deterioration is due to his greed for power. Because of greed resulting in his mental degradation, Macbeth’s insanity is what led to his downfall at the end. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, the hero Macbeth’s downfall is incensed by his psychedelic episodes, psychopathic activities, and selfish behaviors.

In conclusion, the adversity Macbeth by William Shakespeare depicts the downfall of an honored man because of his crooked ways and mental decline which resulted from the influence of supernatural forces.



Work cited

Booth, Stephen, and William Shakespeare. King Lear, Macbeth, Indefinition, and Tragedy. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983.