The Role of the Supernatural in Shakespeare
In the time of William Shakespeare there was a strong belief in the existence of the supernatural. Thus, the supernatural is a recurring aspect in many of Mr. Shakespeare's plays. In two such plays, Hamlet and Macbeth, the supernatural is an integral part of the structure of the plot. It provides a catalyst for action, an insight into character, and augments the impact of many key scenes.
The supernatural appears to the audience in many varied forms. In Hamlet there appears perhaps the most notable of the supernatural forms, the ghost. However, in Macbeth, not only does a ghost appear but a floating dagger, witches, and prophetic apparitions make appearances. The role of the supernatural is very important in Hamlet and Macbeth.
A ghost, appearing in the form of Hamlet's father, makes several appearances in the play. It first appears to the watchmen, Marcellus and Bernardo, along with Horatio near the guardsmens' post.
The ghost says nothing to them and is perceived with fear and apprehension, "It harrows me with fear and wonder". It is not until the appearance of Hamlet that the ghost speaks, and only then after Horatio has expressed his fears about Hamlet following it, "What if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord, or to the dreadful summit of the cliff".
The conversation between the ghost and Hamlet serves as a catalyst for Hamlet's later actions and provides insight into Hamlet's character. The information the ghost reveals incites Hamlet into action against a situation he was already uncomfortable with, and now even more so. Hamlet is not quick to believe the ghost, "The spirit that I have seen may be a devil... and perhaps out of my weakness and my melancholy..abuses me to damn me", and thus an...