Fairies, demons, and ghosts: Shakespeare’s fascination with the supernatural

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Although there was hostility towards witchcraft and sorcery well before the 16th century, it is in this time period where we see religious and legal punishment juxtaposed with the increasing use and enjoyment of special effects in plays to convey magic and the supernatural. Laws and statues against witchcraft were passed, the popularity of witch trials was beginning to rise, yet such an atmosphere did not discourage Shakespeare and other playwrights from incorporating otherworldly elements in their works.

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