Paranormal Precedence In The Mind

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Do you believe in supernatural forces thinking they control your every thought and action? Macbeth murders King Duncan to become king then gets slain by Macduff so that Malcolm the true heir to the throne could rise to power. In Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the witches to coerce Macbeth’s fate because of when they tell him he would be future king, when they reassure his rule, and when they show him Banquo’s offspring making him fearful of losing the throne.

Macbeth was not in control of his own actions due to the witches influence on him when they appeal to his ambition by telling him he will be future king. In the beginning of the play the weird sisters gather and already have plans to meet with him; “First Witch. Where the place? / Second Witch. Upon the heath. / Third Witch. There to meet with Macbeth'(Shakespeare 1.1.6-8). An evil is coming and the witches finish off the scene with “All. Fair is foul, and foul is fair. / Hover through the fog and filthy air'(Shakespeare 1.1.10-11).

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In scene 3 when Macbeth and Banquo enter his first words are, “Macbeth. So foul and fair a day I have not seen'(Shakespeare 1.3.38). Macbeth states this only moments before the witches show themselves as if the weird sisters had a foothold in his mind before he even met them. Kranz elaborates on this stating, “Macbeth cannot have overheard the ‘fair is foul’ antithesis of the witches; instead, it seems to come to his mind out of the very thick air”(346). The witches go on to tell him that he will be “Thane of Cawdor” and “Future King”. Inflating his ego as Ross and Angus deliver the news that he is now the Thane of Cawdor. Which starts Macbeth on a downhill slope from noble to nothing.

The weird sisters reassure Macbeth with the last two prophecies in Act 4. With the arrival of the second apparition it states, “Second Apparition. … Laugh to scorn The pow’r of man, for none of woman born Shall harm Macbeth”(Shakespeare 4.1.81-82). He does not know that Macduff was not born of a woman but ripped from her womb. Then the third apparition reveals, “Macbeth shall never vanquished be until / Great Birnam Wood to high Dunsinane Hill / Shall come against him”(Shakespeare 4.1.92-94). His ignorance to this matter blinds him so he states, “Macbeth. Then live, Macduff: what need I fear of thee?”(Shakespeare 4.1.83).

The witches reassure Macbeth on his rule with the last prophecy in Act 4. Though as stated in The Demonic Metaphysics of Macbeth, “The wise man will not limit his attention to the symbol as such, however fascinating it is. He will submit himself fully to its influence, without a doubt…”(Curry 396-97). This consumes the rest of his mind causing him to never fear death. This caused the false pretense that his reign will never end. Which allows a foothold for the witches to make him more cocky and less stable in his planning, “Macbeth. Bring me no more reports; let them fly all! / Till Birnam Wood remove to Dunsinane / I cannot taint with fear'(Shakespeare 5.3.1-3).

Macbeth demands of the witches to prove that Banquo’s children will be kings. The results of his demanding then goes on to haunt his mind and he states, “Horrible sight! Now I see ‘tis true; / For the blood-boltered Banquo smiles upon me, / And points at them for his. What, is this so?”(Shakespeare 4.1.122-24). The witches showed him this to make him irrational in his planning. Hoping that he would soon fight the army’s of Malcolm and Macduff. He’s torn apart that even after killing Banquo that Banquo’s line becomes rulers of many nations. This made him have a blood lust because he feared losing the crown.

The witches toy with his mind showing him sights of things that would make him foolish enough and able to be killed. Remember that they had already started the potion that Macbeth drank to see Banquo’s offspring before he even arrived, “Macbeth. How now, you secret, black, and midnight hags! / What is’t you do? / All. A deed without a name'(Shakespeare 4.1.47-49). This proves that the witches seem to know the past, present, and future. The witches and their magic brings upon him his downfall. By drinking the potion he allows them full control of his mind and emotions.

Some might argue that Macbeth was in full control of his actions. That his guilt controls him after the countless murders he has committed. What man starts feeling guilt of murdering one. Though he has murdered countless more before him, “Captain… Which smoked with bloody execution, / Like valor’s minion carved out his passage / Till he faced the slave;…”(Shakespeare 1.2.16-20). This is when he is battling Macdonwalds forces. He “carved a passage” through people to get to him. Also Macbeth after hearing the witches prophecies states, “If chance will have me king, why, chance may crown me, / Without my stir'(Shakespeare 1.3.143-44).

Can you be controlled by the twirling of a wand or the drinking of a potion? In Shakespeare’s The Tragedy of Macbeth, The witches use magic to control Macbeth by hailing him and telling him he would be king, when they summoned the apparitions to reassure him, and when they showed him Banquo’s children as king. Was it weakness or witchcraft? The world may never know.


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