‘Tis the season for witches, ghosts and magic! In Shakespeare’s time, many people believed in the existence of supernatural elements and witchcraft. The dominant fear of kings and queens in the 16th and 17th centuries was that the devil or antichrist, through the agency of the Pope, would topple the English monarchy.

In this PBS LearningMedia collection focusing on Macbeth, Hamlet and The Tempest, your students will examine supernatural beliefs during the 16th and 17th centuries, and identify how supernatural elements drive the plot of many of Shakespeare’s plays.

These segments from the PBS series Shakespeare Uncovered focus in particular on the witches from Macbeth, the relationship between the spirit and human worlds in Elizabethan England and how it’s reflected in Shakespeare’s work, how Prospero uses magic in The Tempest, a discussion on the study and practice of magic in the 17th century, and much more.