Supernatural characters of Shakespeare

I’m trying to find – or create – a list of Shakespeare characters with supernatural elements or abilities. For me, that includes:

Characters that are themselves magical (Oberon, Ariel, the ghost from Hamlet)
Characters that possess magical powers (Prospero, the witches of Macbeth)

I don’t count minor abilities or elements, such as Calpurnia’s vision of her husband’s death in Julius Caesar or the silent ghost of Duncan in Macbeth.

Can you help me find the rest?

The Tempest: Caliban (in addition to the ones already listed)
Julius Caesar: Caesar’s ghost had a few lines, which would make him more than “minor” by the indicated standard – indeed, Caesar’s ghost might qualify as “great”.

From A Midsummer Night’s Dream:

The Fairies

Oberon – Titania’s husband and King of the Fairies
Titania – Oberon’s wife and Queen of the Fairies
Robin Goodfellow/Puck – servant to Oberon
Peaseblossom – fairy servant to Titania
Cobweb – fairy servant to Titania
Moth – fairy servant to Titania
Mustardseed – fairy servant to Titania
First Fairy, Second Fairy

Lots of fairies in Midsummer Night’s Dream, of course.

Banquo’s ghost in Macbeth

Sycorax in **the Tempest – Caliban’s mother was a witch.

To tell the truth, aside from being a Son of a Witch, I don’t know if Caliban himself qualifies as a “magical creature”. Although he’s often played as a magical thing (as in the Teller-directed version I saw last year), there’s nothing in the script to imply he has magical abilities.

Midsummer Night’s Dream is rife with them. Oberon you named, but then there is Titania, Puck, all the other fairies, etc. And how would you class Bottom? When be-assed he is definitely magical, without having a speck of magic in him.
ETA: triple simulpost!

By the way, there are other supernatural creatures in The Tempest. During “Prospero’s feast” there are appearances by Ceres, Juno, Iris, and numerous non-speaking nymphs.

Sycorax doesn’t actually appear, but she’s referred to.

Prospero is a wizard, of course, but there is no reference to him performing magic (although, in Teller’s staging, he actually performs quite a bit. So does Ariel.)

Hermione in A Winter’s Tale; her statue comes to life. Either that or Hermione has been in hiding for 16 years. The play directly says the statue comes alive, but there are hints that it might be the latter.

Owen Glendower in Henry IV, Part I. If you believe him.

By that logic, Iago.

Debatable if that’s an actual ghost, or just MacBeth losing his mind.

The same argument has been made about the ghost of Hamlet’s father, other witnesses notwithstanding.

I think the other witnesses do a substantial amount of withstanding in that case. Plus, the ghost give Hamlet accurate information about events Hamlet could not have been privy to.

Nevertheless, Hamlet has been psychoanalyzed to death, and the suggestion has certainly bgeen made (How vdo you REally know Hamlet didn’t have that information?)

I’m sure the suggestion has been made. Hamlet is arguably the most studied work in the English language. Which means that there have been a lot of really stupid analysis of it.

Well, that might be a little unfair. You could probably do a pretty good Hamlet production where the existence of the ghost is much more ambiguous, but you’d need to cut certain scenes and characters to make it work textually. Taking the text as a whole, though, there’s as much evidence for the ghost being real as there is for Polonius.

There’s the line in the play about death being “the undiscovered country, from whose bourn, no traveler returns”. That could be Shakespeare telling us that the ghost didn’t really appear but was only something people were imaging. And the fact that Hamlet said the line meant he was himself aware that he hadn’t really received a message from his father. His father’s ghost was just the personification of Hamlet’s suspicions rather than an independent witness that corroborated those suspicions.

I think that line is better explained in the context of Hamlet’s stated suspicion that the ghost might be misleading him - that it’s a disguised devil, tempting him into unwarranted revenge, and not the returned soul of his father. The fact that the dead don’t regularly pop back over to chat with their undeparted loved ones would argue that this might be something more sinister. Which is why he stages the play-within-the-play, to test the intelligence he received from the apparition - not just to find out if Claudius is the murderer, but the specific method by which the murder was accomplished. While he might already suspect his uncle of fratricide, it seems a stretch that he would just happen to hit upon “death by ear poison” as the exact cause.

Plus, there’s three witnesses to Hamlet’s talk with the ghost, two of whom first saw it before Hamlet even knew the castle was supposed to be haunted. Mass delusions and suppressed memories can be a real thing, but I question how widely they were recognized in the 16th century.

In the little-read, little-performed Henry VIII, real life Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer is shown having the power of clairvoyance, as he accurately predicts the glorious future that awaited the Virgin Queen Elizabeth.

Queen Margaret in Richard III may possess witch like power.

He’s certainly supernatural in his own right (arguably, considerably more so than the natural air-spirit Ariel): His mother is a witch, but his father is claimed to be a devil.

As for magical ability, “You taught me language, and my profit on it / is that I know how to curse”. Though the efficacy of his curses is certainly debatable.

The soothsayer in Julius Caesar.