Shakespeare uses the ‘unnatural’ or ‘supernatural’ to develop the theme of the play by having these supernatural occurrences play a major part in the temptation, then the regret that happens to Macbeth. The witches, who are the biggest ‘supernatural’ influences in the play, tempt Macbeth from the beginning with the original prophecies that, mixed with his ambitious nature, push him to try to capture the throne and kill Duncan. These ‘supernatural’ occurrences also help to make Macbeth feel regret and remorse for what he has done and lead to his eventual demise.
An example of this is the ghost of Banquo which haunts him and has him breakdown in remorse for what he has done. This creates more decent in the thanes toward Macbeth and has an impact on the final battle when all of his soldiers turn on him. Also, the three apparitions lead Macbeth to believe he is invincible, which he is not, and leaves him unprotected from the armies of England and Macduff who kills him because of it. 3) In Macbeth darkness is used as a symbol of death and evil which appears several times throughout the play.
Many if not all of the scenes that were essentially “evil” occur either at night or in darkness. For example both the murders of Duncan and Banquo occurred at night in the darkness concealed from the good of light. Also, every time the witches appear they are followed by darkness and thunder and lightning, which even starts to become a lasting symbol of them representing their true evil. The witches also always meet in dark caves to commit their foul deeds and turn the tide of the story towards evil.
Darkness is truly a symbol of evil and murder in Macbeth. 4) Irony has a very important role in the development of the theme of appearances versus reality. This irony shows how people and things can look to be good but truly there evil. An example of this is when Duncan arrives at Inverness and says “this castle has a pleasant seat. The air nimbly and sweetly recommends itself unto our gentle senses” when this castle is where he is going to be brutally murdered.
Another example is in irony of the title thane of Cawdor when the previous thane was a traitor and when the title is given to Macbeth who seems like a loyal soldier becomes a traitor. Irony truly has an effect on the theme of appearances versus reality in Macbeth. 7) In Macbeth Banquo is a foil character for Macbeth which helps to show how ambition to prompt evil acts in the same circumstances can affect people in a different way. Both Macbeth and Banquo are given prophecies that predict great things, ut each character uses these predictions differently. Macbeth with his ambition and this prophecy causes him to commit evil and atrocious deeds to make the prediction come true. While Banquo takes this prediction and does the right thing and almost ignores it, commiting no acts of evil and truly staying good even posed with a future that sounds great for him. These characters act as a foil to show how ambition can truly cause people to commit evil deeds to gain power.