The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Plays "Hamlet" and "Macbeth"

Term Paper, 2022

23 Pages, Grade: 1,7


Abstract or Introduction

Stories with supernatural elements like ghosts and witches existed before the coming of Christianity. Folkloric tales, vernacular beliefs and legends were at the roots of such stories. Ghosts and witches fascinated and at the same time scared many people around the world. During Shakespearean times, people believed in the idea of good and evil and were very superstition. The idea of the afterlife was also very popular. The unknown scared but at the same time amused many people; therefore, many plays feature supernatural elements in them. William Shakespeare, who wrote his plays during the Elizabethan and Jacobean eras used supernatural beings like ghosts and witches to help move the plot and convey a certain atmosphere.

The depiction of supernatural creatures changed throughout the years. Many stories feature different kinds of ghosts and the reasons for their appearances. The contemporary image of ghosts and witches is vastly different from the medieval ones. In the past, ghosts appeared to convey a message or haunt the living, while witches were usually women who did not conform to the standards of society at the time.

The term paper will explore the roles of The Weird Sisters and decide whether they are responsible for Macbeth’s actions or he alone is in charge of his destiny. The theme of prophecy and the role of destiny that was very popular at the time the play was written is also going to be explored and analyzed. Moreover, I will compare the Ghost of Hamlet to the Ghost of Banquo in the plays.

The aim of this term paper is to trace supernatural creatures in Shakespearean plays and find reasons for the use of the supernatural in the plays. In Hamlet, I will focus my attention on the Ghost, its description, and its purpose in the play. In Macbeth, I will look at The Weird Sisters and the Ghost of Banquo. In order to contrast the ghosts in both plays, I will look at their appearances, purpose in the play, and personal motifs. Moreover, I will explore the role of witchcraft, prophecy and destiny in Macbeth.


The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Plays "Hamlet" and "Macbeth"
University of Bonn
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
medievalstudies, Shakespeare, Macbeth, Hamlet, supernatural, witches, ghosts, ghostnarrative, horrorstories, medieval, renaissance, theweirdsisters, Banquo, ghostofbanquo, prophecy, witchcraft, destiny, afterlife, William Shakespeare
Quote paper
Anonymous, 2022, The Supernatural in Shakespeare's Plays "Hamlet" and "Macbeth", Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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