The Supernatural In Shakespeare's King Lear And Macbeth

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England in Shakespeare’s time was established on the basis of divine order, which stated that the monarch was placed by God to preside over the commoners and animals. Shakespeare, in King Lear and Macbeth, explores the idea of an unnatural society, one that has been destabilized through the malevolent agents of the supernatural. Shakespeare conveys the supernatural in Macbeth through recognizable characters, such as the weird sisters, but utilizes only imagery and action to mention the supernatural in King Lear. However, in both of these tragedies, the supernatural is utilized to highlight the divine order of their world and also serve as a stimulant for each character’s actions, which further provides insight into the moral ambiguity of prominent characters. Throughout King Lear, characters refer to the gods in their speech. The corrupt characters refer to them sparingly and crudely,…show more content…
The witches’ conversation before their encounter with Macbeth clearly expresses their wickedness, as the first witch threats a sailor’s wife of a storm when she refused to give her chestnuts. This directly contrasts the supernatural realm of King Lear, which does not influence the character’s behavior for their own amusement. In the same scene with the witches, however, Shakespeare hints of a limit to the supernatural’s powers. The first witch state that, “Though his bark cannot be lost / Yet it shall be tempest-tossed.” (CITE) This implies that the weird sisters’ powers are limited to that of changing some natural elements, but they cannot simply alter the future or aspects of some events. Contrasting King Lear, the supernatural in Macbeth, exists only to challenge the characters’, though mainly Macbeth’s, moral impositions, which is further evident due to the scenes involving Banquo’s ghost and the
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