Macbeth Literary Analysis

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Macbeth and the Extraterrestrial In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the supernatural plays an essential role in the character development of the most important characters. Prophecies of greatness, brought on by three witches and led by their leader Hecate, lead to corruption in even the most loyal of men. The theme of what these witches say, “Fair is foul and foul is fair” make people believe good things will happen, when really they are being led astray. One man – Macbeth himself – falls prey to these prophecies, leading him to betrayal, murder, and even insanity. In the time of Shakespeare, people were very superstitious, so he used the witches for theatrical effect. (Richmond 497-499). After hearing the witches’ prophecy “All hail, Macbeth! Hail to thee, thane of Glamis! / All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, thane of Cawdor! / All hail, Macbeth, thou shalt be king hereafter!” (Mabillard, 1.3. 50-53), Macbeth is confronted with the fact that he is now the thane of Cawdor. This makes him believe the witches’ prophecies that he is to become king. The statement “Fair is foul and foul is fair” comes into play, because becoming king sounds fair, but Macbeth doesn’t know that he will have to kill to achieve it. The main betrayal throughout this play is the moment Macbeth decides to kill Duncan, who has never been anything but kind and good. It is because of the supernatural power of the witches that Macbeth decides to kill Duncan, and start his decent into madness. Violence and murder are main themes in Macbeth. Although mostly offstage, the violence is described in great detail. (“Macbeth”) For instance, when describing the opening battle, the captain says “So they Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe / Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds / Or memorize another Golgotha, I cannot tell.” (Shmoop Editorial Team) These themes are not possible without the superstition

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