Shakespeare’s the Tempest, Hamlet, and Macbeth Essay

Words: 1590
Pages: 7

The Role of Magic in Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Hamlet, and Macbeth

Like many other themes, magic and supernatural elements play a large role in many of Shakespeare’s works. The use of magic interests the audience, plays to the imagination, and adds dramatic intrigue to the story, even when the rest of the plot is comprised of believable events. These themes are most prominent in The Tempest, Hamlet, and Macbeth. In each of these plays, magic and supernatural occurrences not only play a large role in the plot, but also help to communicate various messages and literary value. Shakespeare utilizes magic and supernatural happenings in both positive and negative lights, depending on the purpose it serves in each of the mentioned
…show more content…
All of them are terrified by apparitions in the story, and Hamlet is driven to insanity by the appearance of his deceased father, and his father’s request of him. Supernatural appearances do not seem to be given any emotion or orientation in this play, other than that of fear. During the play, we see how havoc is wreaked by the appearance of ghosts. Had his father not appeared to him, Hamlet would not have spent his life in torture, and no further characters would have had to die.

The ghost of Hamlet’s father is a bringer not only of revenge, but of emotional tirades from several characters. In this play, we see that magic and the supernatural represent revenge and darkness. The power of Hamlet’s father’s ghost creates darkness and even insanity and chaos in all characters which it touches. There is no peace or normality for those who have been affected by this ghost, or those who have been affected by Hamlet, who is the only one to have communicated with said ghost. Hamlet makes clear the detrimental effect that the ghost has upon his own sanity and peace. He says,

“Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,
That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes,