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Apparitions In Macbeth Essays

Macbeth: Viewing The Three Apparitions Supernaturally

In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, there are several references to supernatural activity. This supernatural activity is very crucial to the storyline. Supernatural defined by Webster relates to an existence beyond the visible observable universe. The Three Apparitions are spoken of in Act IV of the play but the supernatural is first introduced by the three witches in Act I. The three witches who speak the apparitions are the opening characters in Macbeth. After reading the book I fully understand Shakespeare reasoning for including them in the story. Each of the three apparitions depicts a clue of Macbeth’s future.
William Shakespeare, in my opinion starts the play off with supernatural beliefs. The first of characters to speak are the three witches. I feel that the witches are a supernatural element that Shakespeare used. The introduction of the witches depicts the plan they had to meet Macbeth. I would describe the witches as a set of mysterious characters that plot mischief against Macbeth using things such as the apparitions. There predictions are what I think caused Macbeth to partake in all of his evil ways.
As all three witches gather to say, “Come high or low; Thyself and office deftly show!”(IV.i.74-75) thunder begins to roll and the first apparition is revealed, an armed head. The first apparition speaks, “Macbeth! Macbeth! Macbeth! Beware Macduff; Beware the Thane of Fife. Dismiss me. Enough.”(IV.i.79-80) What does the armed head suggest? The armed head certainly confirmed Macbeth’s fears of Macduff. The armed head was a symbol used to summon Macbeth and warn him of the arrival of Macduff and to know that his reason for return was to simply ruin his reign. I often think of it resembling a head with an armored helmet similar to a Trojan head. Macbeth reacts with a thought of being unsure of the “apparition” he responds, “Whate'er thou art, for thy good caution,...

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The Importance of the Three Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

2218 words - 9 pages The Importance of the Three Witches in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Works Cited Missing The witches, who are also known as the three sisters, play an important part in the play 'Macbeth' by William Shakespeare. I will discuss what impact the witches gave to the Elizabethans and what impact it...

How the First Three Scenes Foretell the Tragedy of Macbeth

3727 words - 15 pages How the First Three Scenes Foretell the Tragedy of Macbeth Good versus evil, this is a theme most commonly explored in many renowned literatures. Shakespeare has also used this oxymoron in his very famous as well as tragic creation called – ‘Macbeth’. Along side this theme there are other similar oxymorons explored such as natural versus unnatural, murder, treason, destiny as well as betrayal. Shakespeare has...

Examining the Three Deaths in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

2481 words - 10 pages Examining the Three Deaths in William Shakespeare's Macbeth I will show how Shakespeare makes us feel horror pity and fear by examining three of the deaths in the play. These are the three main components to any tragedy, dating back to the ancient Greek tragedies. I will look at the murder of King Duncan and that of Banquo as well as the killing of young Macduff and his mother. The play was Macbeth was probably...

Parallels: The Influence of Lady Macbeth and the Three Witches that Changed Macbeth

1250 words - 5 pages Parallels: the Influence of Lady Macbeth and the Three Witches that Changed MacbethThroughout a person's life, there are many things, like strangers or the media, that influence how a person will behave. The main factor in this influence tends to be the people in their lives that they are closest too. Sometimes the influence of people can...

Macbeth: The view from below. Three scenes from Macbeth retold by the minor characters.

1427 words - 6 pages The MessengerOf all people in his armies, My Lord Macbeth sends me to deliver a letter! I, who have stood before kings and princes, carried messages and gifts of war or allegiance, who has been trusted with the most sensitive and valuable of commissions, now am reduced to...

Brief summary and commentary on the first three scenes in Act III of Macbeth.

1381 words - 6 pages The first scene starts with Banquo voicing his suspicions about Macbeth killing Duncan in order to become the King. He is aware that the witches had prophesized that his sons would become Kings. But he doesn't let this thought obsess him. He is capable of controlling his thoughts and checking his ambitions unlike Macbeth which sets the two apart.Macbeth enters with the others here. He announces that Banquo is to be the chief guest of...

Tragic Downfall of Macbeth

557 words - 2 pages In Macbeth, a play by William Shakespeare, the main character has a tragic flaw. Macbeth, the main character, has a single tragic flaw that consequently leads to his downfall in the end. Macbeth's downfall was caused by a series of events in the play. The events were brought upon by the choices made by Macbeth, but the downfall of Macbeth could have been avoided. Macbeth had three main catalysts in the choices he made which lead to his great...

Who Is To Blame For Macbeth's Tragic Downfall?

850 words - 3 pages Macbeth, one of Shakespeare’s tragedies, depicts the treacherous steps that one ambitious man endures to receive the title of kingship. With the company of Banquo, whom the throne will heir to in the future, Macbeth is confronted by three witches who inform him that he will one day be king. Macbeth believes the witches prophecies, therefore deciding that he must rid of all who are of the utmost importance in terms of kingship. Once Macbeth...

The Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth by William Shakespeare

1524 words - 6 pages The Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth by William Shakespeare In this essay I am going to explore the use of the supernatural in the play Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare. This is going to be done by showing how much power the supernatural elements had and how it influenced peoples' mind. The supernatural elements are the use of the witches, the dagger, Banquo's ghost and the apparitions in the play. ...


1262 words - 5 pages Macbeth is a play written by Shakespeare that is set in eleventh century Scotland. It details the life of the Macbeth, a brave and noble man who is described as ‘Bellona’s bridegroom’ (1.3.54), specifically the events after he meets three supernatural creatures who tell him about his fate. The reader should see Macbeth as a great man whose ambition for security leads to his downfall. Ambitions and manipulation from his wife cause him to commit...

Macbeth's Downfall

961 words - 4 pages Macbeth’s Downfall Shakespeare created a character in Macbeth who is strongly influenced in his decision making throughout the drama of The Tragedy of Macbeth. This drama is a Tragedy, hence the title, and has a hero, in Macbeth, who has a downfall. Readers become aware of the aspects that lead up to this predicament. Macbeth’s downfall was contributed equally from Lady Macbeth, the three weird sisters, and Macbeth’s ambition. In the beginning...

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 Foreshadowing the Apparitions in MacBeth  

One would question the credibility of the enigmatic apparitions within Macbeth's renowned Act IV, Scene i. Shakespeare gains the audience's acceptance of the three mystically summoned apparitions through methodically foreshadowing a supernatural event is about to occur. Each stance of Shakespeare's foreshadowing -- cauldron potions, Hecate, the second witch's awareness of MacBeth, and stage direction -- contributes to the believability of the apparitions' appearance in the play.

The fact the witches were mixing a "poisoned (IV,i,5)" concoction upon the entrance of MacBeth implies "trouble (IV,i,10)." Three witches circling around a cauldron, throwing in items such as "baboon's blood (IV,i,37)" foreshadows something dark and mysterious will happen. Hecate, the queen of the witches, "commends (IV,i,39)" the witches for their "pains (IV,i,39)," upon entrance to the witchery drenched stage. Hecate also uses a device similar to the royal we. She implies that the entirety of the populous will benefit from the outcome of the potion when she professes "everyone shall share i' th' gains (IV,i,40)." Hecate also exits the stage with the song "Black Spirits (IV,i,SD 43- 44)."

When there is a knocking at the door, the second witch is aware of whom the visitor is. The riddling second witch states "something wicked this way comes (IV,i,45)," suggesting both MacBeth is an evil character and the apparitions are going to make an entrance shortly. The witches might have been expecting MacBeth to arrive and were preparing for his entrance into the scene.

The three witches of Macbeth continually enter the stage with either thunder, or thunder and lightning. All three of the apparitions enter the stage with "Thunder. First" [or second, or third] "Apparition, An Armed Head (IV,i,SD 76,87,97)" [or a Bloody Child or a Child Crowned with a tree in his hand], after MacBeth tells the witches to "call 'em (IV,i,70)" to the stage. After four sets of thunder, the audience realizes the apparitions are products of the witches' magic.

The apparitions profess three things MacBeth believes are incapable of happening. Lennox enters the scene and recites to MacBeth "MacDuff has fled to England (IV,i,160)." MacBeth believes there is no person on Earth that could fit the description one must be in order to conquer him. In an aside at the close of IV,i, MacBeth declares he will "surprise" the "castle of MacDuff (IV,i,171)." Since MacBeth believes humans are not able to kill him, this is where the "trouble (IV,i,10)" begins.

Thus, Shakespeare gains the audience's acceptance of the three mystically summoned apparitions through foreshadowing something supernatural is about to occur. Beginning with the witches' magical concoction, the audience continually has more reason to believe the summoned apparitions. Upon the entrance of Hecate, who commends the witches for their work, Shakespeare introduces the audience into an entire hierarchy being aware of the witches' scheme. After Hecate exits the scene, the second witch is aware MacBeth is knocking. The witches may have been expecting MacBeth, and were preparing for his arrival. The stage direction for both the witches and the apparitions are identical. This suggests the witches and the apparitions are closely related and relevant to each other. It implies that the potion was being mixed to create the apparitions. MacBeth starts off to kill the MacDuff family, when trouble starts, and he himself dies.

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