Gothic melodrama and the supernatural in Macbeth?Essay title: "They say, blood will have blood" (Banquet Scene, Act III, Scene 4). Is Macbeth more than an exaggerated Gothic melodrama before its...

Gothic melodrama and the supernatural in Macbeth?

Essay title:

"They say, blood will have blood" (Banquet Scene, Act III, Scene 4). Is Macbeth more than an exaggerated Gothic melodrama before its time, dominated by the spectacular?

  1. Theme 1: Settings and Production.
  • First lines of witches under "thunder, lightning", "fog and filthy air" - foreboding, pathetic fallacy, oppression, evil.
  • Banquet hall, castle and heath settings - gradeur, sublime.
  • Rosenfield about 19th century production: set designs 'might have served any melodrama of the time' - though in Victorian era, any semblance of Gothic melodrama in proto-gothic plays was hyperbolised to please audiences.

But that's all I have in my plan...

I know I should be able to incorporate the witches, the dagger, maybe Macbeth's guilt and conscience (and thus the shared consciousness with Lady Macbeth, too, perhaps), the grotesque and violent imagery (frequency of 'blood', 'plucked my nipple from his boneless gums and dashed his brains out' etc).

The question is: what are the main themes that can be discussed under the title given, and how can the ideas I've come up with be developed further, if possible?

 

Asked on by carahanlon

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litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The story does have some serious things to say about guilt.  Macbeth succumbs to his own guilt.  He is aggressive and arrogant.  He ends up being eaten up by guilt and fear, almost like his wife.

renoa's profile pic

renoa | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

Banquo told Macbeth that he suspect him of killing the King . Macbeth feared being murdered and being discovered of killing King Duncan. So he killed Banquo and at the same night he was invited to a feast. He saw Banquo's ghost there and that made him went mad and almost crazy though he is the only one who can see the ghost . This supernatural scene is very important since it is one of the first signs of Macbeth's fear and guilt. The supernatural theme is a very important one in “Macbeth”. Otherwise the play would not be as great as it is now, and Macbeth could not be beaten . Macbeth caused his own death when he relied on the supernatural
renoa's profile pic

renoa | Elementary School Teacher | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

There is a strong role of a supernatural force in Macbeth. The witches who had the power to see the future, the ghosts and of course the bloody dagger that appeared to Macbeth before going to commit his murder to the king . all these seems to be supernatural. The Three Witches are the strongest of the supernatural powers in the play. They made prophesies that effected Macbeth and moved him toward killing the king and his best friend and finally those prophesies caused his death .

     The Witches didn't predict that he will commit murder to become the king but only that he will become king. The Witches knew how he will get to be a king . The Witches have the biggest affect on Macbeth because they are the ones who told him their prophesies. The Witches said that no man born from a woman's womb can defeat Macbeth, that made him feel unbeatable. However, Macbeth does not realize that Macduff was born unnaturally and he will be the one to kill him.

        Macbeth has a vision of a dagger just before killing the King. This vision  of a bloody dagger is another example of the supernatural. This dagger encouraged or "pushed" Macbeth to kill the king. Shakespeare used the supernatural to add an evil side to the play to attract the people. The supernatural is used in all places where evil is present.

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carahanlon's profile pic

carahanlon | Student, Undergraduate | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

Basically: is Macbeth any more than an exaggerated Gothic melodrama before its time, dominated by the spectacular?

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