How a modern audience would perceive the supernatural characters in the play Macbeth

Essay by JulietGal2004High School, 12th gradeA+, January 2004

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In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses characters who exhibit supernatural powers. These witches add mystery and uncertainty to the lives of other characters. The witches also determine how the play evolves by using their spells, charms, and prophecies to meddle in Macbeth's life. In the Shakespearean era, figures of the supernatural and the mystical were feared or awed, but modern society views these forces in a different light.

At the very beginning, Act 1/ Scene 1, the witches appear, accompanied with the background of thunder and lightning. The atmosphere is intended to be threatening and intimidating; however, modern society wouldn't be fazed by these needlessly dramatic effects. Thanks to modern technology, and the special effects of the movie industry, it would take a lot more than thunder and lightning to awe modern audiences. These dramatics would fail to be intimidating and threatening. Quickly, the three witches reveal their ability to predict and mold the future.

Amused by this, today's audience would associate the witches with magicians seen on television and their talents would be compared to card tricks, levitating acts, or mind readers. The problem is that none of these talents are considered believable, so the witches lose creditability and their characters are laughable. The people would just pass them off as another act and would give no head to what they stood for. Shakespeare used them to symbolize the fate of mankind, but this message may be lost on modern audiences.

In Act 1/ Scene 3 the witches reappear with their trademark of thunder and lightening. They speak in a rhyming singing way which sets them apart from the other characters who speak in blank verse. Though they are clearly supposed to be the most dangerous characters in the play, their way of speaking would make anyone now...