The supernatural in shakespeares works essay

Images of ulcers, pleurisy, full body pustules, apoplexy, and madness parallel the sins of drunkenness, espionage, war, adultery, and murder, to reinforce the central idea that Denmark is dying. So how do you pronounce Jaquesanyway?

Scores of less well known plays from the Tudor and early Stuart period also have in their casts of characters a magician. Indeed, for some thirty years, the magician was a familiar stage figure; then, quite suddenly, he vanished from the stage, reappearing only in a few court masques or as a parody of himself, as a pseudo-magus.

Exploration of this abrupt rise and fall of the stage magician forms part of the subject of this study. The magician filled a symbolic role in many plays. He functioned as a man whose horizons were both limitless and limited, a self-contained paradox. The convergence of two views of the magician—one, popular and literary, perhaps most clearly expressed in the medieval romances, the other, elitist and philosophical, best studied in the writings of the Italian neoplatonists—led to an ambivalence that made the magician a potentially fascinating stage character.

Brief exploration of these traditions of magic leads to an understanding of how the magician functions in individual plays and provides some background for examining his association with magical competitions, sensual delights of all sorts, and a master-of-ceremonies image.

Interest in magic ran high during the Tudor and early Stuart period. It is important to understand both the pre-conceptions the audience was likely to have had about magicians and what the playwrights themselves might have known and felt about magic and the men who practiced it.

The subject was seriously discussed in the court circles of Elizabeth and James, in the English law courts, in church, and in philosophical works imported from the Continent.

Thanks largely to pioneering studies of neo-platonic and hermetic magic emanating from the Warburg Institute, since the s literary scholars have become increasingly aware of the influence of magic on Renaissance thought. A somewhat different line of inquiry, not yet as well explored, concerns how—if at all—that influence was translated into literary, fictive creations.

In this spirit of inquiry, then, I examine both the historical and literary climate of Renaissance magic in preparation for close analysis of several important stage magicians.

It is impossible to claim direct influence, except in a few unusual cases, of the literary and historical materials on specific plays or specific dramatists.


However, the conflux of magical traditions in the early Renaissance helps explain how, for a few playwrights, the magician figure focuses issues of human potential and limitation and raises the question of how much man is permitted to know.

Religious and philosophical attitudes toward magic were varied and complex. Until the thirteenth century—and, officially, much later than that—the medieval church's position was simple and straightforward: God permitted magic partly to demonstrate, by its overthrow, his own miraculous powers, and partly as one of the pitfalls that appeared in the world as a result of original sin.

But difficulties arose from such a sweeping condemnation of magic, and uneasy perceptions of problems produced by the complete rejection of magic appear in the writings of men such as Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon. Of primary concern was the impossibility of drawing any clear line between magic and science.

To experiment, to inquire into the secrets of the universe, was to come very close to involvement with magic. Medicine and astronomy, for example, were frequently associated with magic.

Was the doctor practicing magic when he prescribed herbs to be taken at the full moon? Was the man who predicted the stars' influence on one's life or one's harvest a magician?

Already uncomfortable questions in the thirteenth century, they grew increasingly vexing in ensuing centuries as the demand for scientific experiment increased. Physician, alchemist, professor all then wore the same long robe, which might mark either the scholar or the magician.

And when so much of what was new in science was concerned with the very frontiers of knowledge, and dealt with almost unimaginable problems of the organisation, complexity and harmony of Nature, scientists themselves were puzzled to know certainly where natural philosophy stopped and mystic science began.

Some philosophers attempted to clarify the issues by distinguishing demonic magic from what became increasingly well known as natural magic magia naturalis.

Writers as early as Roger Bacon distinguished between demonic "not human" magic and natural wonders, though most did not yet call the natural wonders "magic": Nam licet naturae potens sit et mirabilis, tamen ars utens natura pro instrumento potentior est virtute naturali, sicut videmus in multis.

Quicquid autem est praeter operationem naturae vel artis, aut non est humanum, aut est fictum et fraudibus occupatum. Granted that nature is powerful and wondrous, nevertheless, by using nature as its instrument, art is stronger than natural power, as we see in many things.

Moreover, whatever is beyond the operation of nature or of art is either not human, or is invented and usurped by fraud. Gradually the linguistic distinction between natural and demonic magic became familiar though the church never officially accepted itand when, in the mid-sixteenth century, Giambattista della Porta used the phrase magia naturalis to title his collection of remedies and superstitions, it was a well-known phrase.

But the verbal distinction between natural and demonic magic created new difficulties: A familiar example of the problem arises from the biblical account of the three magi visiting the Christ child.

The magi foretell the birth and then confirm its occurrence by reading the heavens; yet they are clearly positive figures. Writers against magic were always rather embarrassed about this passage and developed numerous ingenious ways of getting around the problem.

Albertus Magnus turned to etymology to solve the difficulty and at the same time worked in his distinction between good and evil magicians:Essay Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth - Supernatural Forces - The Supernatural in Macbeth In Macbeth, there are many sections that refer to the involvement of the supernatural.

The use of the supernatural in the script, the witches, the visions, the ghost of Banquo, and the apparitions, are key elements making the concept of the play work and in making the play interesting.

Four Great Tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth (Signet Classics) [William Shakespeare, Sylvan Barnet, Alvin Kernan, Russel Fraser] on *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. The greatest tragic plays of William Shakespeare—including Hamlet, Othello, King Lear.

Free Hamlet Delay papers, essays, and research papers. Dieser Artikel beschreibt den Schriftsteller. Zur gleichnamigen Biographie von Werner Bergengruen siehe E. T. A.

The supernatural in shakespeares works essay

Hoffmann (Bergengruen). Hamlet: Prince of Denmark (BBC Classic Radio Theater) (Classic Radio Theatre) Audio Theater Edition.

Use of the Supernatural in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay Words | 3 Pages Use of the Supernatural in Macbeth In Shakespeare's play The Tragedy of Macbeth, Shakespeare uses an underlying motif of the supernatural to control the characters and add a new dimension to the play.

The supernatural in shakespeares works essay
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