Macbeth Imagery “Blood” Essay
Shakespeare’s plays are well known for the richness of their imagery. This is particularly true in Macbeth and the many allusions to blood. The use of blood imagery gives the reader some foresight into what is going on in the play and how the characters are thinking and feeling.
Blood is used to represent heroics on the battlefield, evil and murderous inclinations, and ultimately guilt and shame. Shakespeare uses the symbol of blood to give the readers insight into his characters as they change and are impacted by their choices and actions.This paper will demonstrate how Shakespeare uses the image of blood as a symbol of bravery, guilt and evil citing directly from the text of Macbeth. Act one Scene Two begins with King Duncan, Malcom, Donalbain and Lenox meeting with a wounded and bleeding captain. There is a war between Scotland and Norway.
Upon seeing the captain Duncan says, “What bloody man is that? He can report, as seemeth by his plight, of the revolt the newest state” (–Act 1 Scene 2 -123-) This blood is representing the acts of war on the battlefield.The captain’s bloody appearance is proof to Duncan that he can describe the latest news of the battle. The conversation in this scene moves on to the captain describing Macbeth heroics on the battlefield as he kills Macdonwald.
He describes Macbeth as a very brave man stating: “For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, Which smoked with bloody execution”(I,2,16-18) In Act One Scene two blood is representative of honor, bravery, and symbolizes victory for the Scotts.The imagery of blood changes from symbolizing honor, bravery and victory to representing guilt in Act II Scene II for Macbeth. At this point in the play Macbeth suffers from a guilty conscience. Macbeth has a strong desire to be King but he feels guilt because he killed King Duncan in order to be crowned. The blood on his hands now symbolizes the guilt of the murder.
In this scene Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to “Go get some water, and wash this filthy witness from your hand. Why did you bring these daggers from the place? They must lie there. Go carry them and smear the sleepy grooms with lood” (ACT 2 scene 2 46-50) In this scene the blood which once meant courage is now representing the guilt for the murder of the King.
Lady Macbeth encourages Macbeth to wipe his hands clean and put the blood instead on the sleeping servants. In Act 5 Scene 8 again the imagery of blood changes from symbolizing guilt to evil. At this point of the play Macbeth loses his sense of feeling guilty. Macbeth is in the midst of battle and is not afraid of any one because no man born of woman can harm him. After slaying Lord Siwards son, Macbeth heads back to the castle.While in the castle Macduff emerges and searches frantically for Macbeth, whom he wants to kill to avenge his family’s death. Macduff enters the castle and calls out Macbeth to fight him.
He tells Macbeth that he has nothing to say to him and that his sword will talk for him. In this scene Macbeth is confronted by Macduff. Macduff states “I have no words.
My voice is in my sword. Thou bloodier villain Than terms can give thee out! ”(Act5 Scene 8 lines ll 8-10) In this scene blood is used to describe Macbeth as a villain because of the blood on his hands from slaying Macduff’s family.This shows a very different representation of blood from the beginning of the play to the last act. In the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, there are numerous references to blood. Shakespeare’s plays are well known for the richness of their imagery. The allusion to blood is used to indicate a variety of things, but often blood plays the utmost important symbolic role within this play. The use of blood imagery gives the reader some insight of what is going on the play. In the beginning of the story, blood is symbolic of bravery, how he fought bravely, and how he won.
Bloodshed for a noble cause is good blood. However, Macbeth’s character changes throughout the play Macbeth in particular has numerous vivid examples. Macbeth goes from being a heroic general in the king’s army to an assassin and a tyrant. Through the looking glass Macbeth seems as bloody as he could be, yet at the core he feels unruly guilt Like a child, Macbeth attempts to run away from his problems, yet he has no where to go. He now realizes what he has done is against his own morals, knee deep in guilt, and attempts to figure out his problems with his wife.Blood symbolizes honor and bravery and also guilt and evil. In the beginning of the play blood is represented of honor and bravery and symbolizes good and victory The play starts out with the 3 witches talking about Macbeth. Macbeth is now a great hero because he led the Scottish army to victory.
For the recognition of Macbeth’s leadership he becomes Thane of Cawdor. The witches make many predictions to Macbeth and they all come true. Shakespear stated “For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name—Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,Which smoked with bloody execution”(I,2,16-18).This showed that the Captain truly respects Macbeth and that he is a heroic soldier. Towards the middle of the play blood represented guilt. At this point of the play.
A bell trings and Lady Macbeth signals that the chamberlains are asleep so Macbeth strides toward Duncan’s chamber. Macbeth was pressured into killing King Duncan by his wife,Lady Macbeth, and does not feel good about it. Shakespear said “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas in incarnadine, Making the green one red” (Act II, Scene ii, 57-8).Towards the end of the play, Macduff is in the midst of battle and is not afraid of any one because no man born of woman can harm him. He slays Lord Siward’s son. Macbeth heads back to the castle and then Macduff emerges and searches frantically for Macbeth, whom he wants to kill personally for revenge because Macduff killed his family.
Macduff enters the castle and calls out Macbeth to fight him. He tells Macbeth that he has nothing to say to him and that his sword will talk for him. After the fight Macduff ends up killing Macbeth. Shakespeare quoted “I have no words.
My voice is in my sword.Thou bloodier villain Than terms can give thee out (VIII, Shakespeare used blood to represent many different things. The representation ranged from hero to evil. It represented hero when Macbeth killed the enemys leader in battle. This gave Macbeth a strong title and a prestigious reputation.
All of these uses of imagery play the role of developing character and atmosphere in Macbeth. The theme of the play is never give into evil because it destroys no matter what the benefits are. Blood Imagery is very important in the play; it shows Macbeth’s evil ambition in the beginning, middle, and end of the play.Macbeth has just killed the enemy and become a hero; Macbeth killed the enemy not for fame or fortune but to defend his land and people.
In this next quote Macbeth’s evil spirit starts to grow by completing the witches prophecy. “I go, and it is done; the bell invites me. / Hear it not, Duncan; for it is a knell / that summons thee to heaven or to hell”(II. i. 62-64).
Macbeth’s selfish and evil desires have grown; he kills his own king in order to obtain the crown; this is no act of a heroic general but a selfish cold-hearted man. Oh, yet I do repent me of my fury, / that I did kill them”(II. iii.
99-100). Macbeth slaughters these two men to conceal his actions and to remove suspicion from him; Macbeth’s evil spirit is growing; he must commit more evil crimes in order to cover up his others. In addition to the beginnig, Blood Imagery is very important in the middle of the play. Macbeth’s..
. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas in incarnadine, Making the green one red. ” ~Macbeth Guilt