Analysis of how Blood Develops the Theme of Endless Guilt in "Macbeth"
In literature, nothing conveys elaborate ideas as well as symbolism. It provides depth and communicate powerful messages to the audience, often acting as a physical representation of a concept or theme. In William Shakespeare 's "The Tragedy of Macbeth," symbols are used constantly, with one of the most significant being the symbol of blood. This literary device is used to symbolize guilt, and so plays a major role in developing the theme that the heavy burden of guilt will forever linger. It creates a visual representation and draws the audience 's attention to the theme, and is part of why "Macbeth" is considered one of Shakespeare 's most famous plays.
The dagger is a representation of Macbeth 's intent to kill Duncan, as he reaches out to take the murder weapon when he sees it, saying "come, let me clutch thee," and it leads him "the way that [he] was going," to Duncan 's room (2.1.35;2.1.43). The blood staining the dagger, therefore, is a way for his conscience to manifest the guilt and horror he feels at killing the king. The fact that there are "gouts of blood" rather than a few drops tells the reader of the depth of his guilt, and foreshadows both the gory visions he will have and the way they will stick with him (2.1.47). The symbol of blood enhances the theme by providing a stronger, visual image for it, which, coupled with the dagger and what it represents, delivers a more impactful message to the audience than a mere statement of the theme could.
Another major example of blood symbolism occurs after Duncan 's murder, when Macbeth cries out that "all great Neptune 's ocean" would not be able to "wash this blood"—the blood staining his hand—"clean" (2.2.61-62). Rather, he says, it will turn "the multitudinous seas incarnadine," (incarnadine means blood-red or pinkish-red) and make the "green" seas "red"
This scene parallels much of Macbeth 's words (how "all great Neptune 's ocean" would not be able to "wash [his] blood" away), in that now she, also, realizes the depth of her guilt in killing the king (2.2.61-62). In this passage, she is desperately washing her hands, attempting to remove her smudge of imaginary blood, but of course, that blood is stained onto her conscience forever. The fact that Shakespeare has Lady Macbeth also display her guilt signifies that Macbeth is not the only one to sense it, and therefore it is a universal rule, that all those guilty from wrongdoing can never be rid of their remorse, which makes obvious the theme of endless guilt. The fact that blood—a striking image—is used continually throughout to symbolize guilt unifies the play through a significant object and focuses the audience on the symbol (by extension, then, it also focuses the audience on the theme), resulting in them giving more thought to it.
With use of blood as a symbol of guilt, Shakespeare is able to develop his theme that guilt is an endless burden on the wrongdoer. Blood, in "The Tragedy of Macbeth," provides a strong, visual representation of guilt, and draws the audience 's attention towards it, both of which work to communicate powerful messages to the audience. His effective
In literature as in life, blood is not only in the body, but symbolizes many other things. The play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare describes the life of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and how they become ruthless killers. They are determined to get power and will not stop until Macbeth and his sons are kings. Throughout the Macbeth by Shakespeare, blood is a prominent symbol and represents murder, guilt, and the difference between characters. Blood represents murder when Macbeth returns from war and when Duncan’s guards are killed. Also, blood represents the guilt of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after the murder of Duncan. Moreover, the difference between Duncan and Lady Macbeth is represented by blood. Altogether, blood symbolizes murder, guilt, and different characters in Macbeth.
In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the motif of blood plays an important factor in the framework of the theme. A motif is a methodical approach to uncover the true meaning of the play. Macbeth, the main character in the play, thinks he can unjustly advance to the title of king without any variation of his honest self. The blood on Macbeth’s hands illustrates the guilt he must carry after plotting against King Duncan and yearning for his crown.
Shakespeare uses motifs in many of his works to add more depth to his writing. His play Macbeth includes various motifs such as blood. Blood is one of the most important motif in Shakespeare’s Macbeth and can be seen throughout the entire play. In Macbeth the motif blood symbolizes guilt, mental illnesses, and insecurity/uneasiness.
The imagery of blood shows Lady Macbeth wants to get rid of her guilt. Lady Macbeth states, “And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood” (1.5. 49-50). Lady Macbeth is saying that she wants be filled with cruelty from top to bottom and to thicken her blood because she knows that from what she is about to do, she will get guilt.
When we, human beings, are about to commit wicked acts, we feel a variety of emotions. One of those emotions is guilt. You may also feel guilt due to moments you chose not to act. The presence of guilt is a driving factor that prevents us from acting irrationally. Citizens of the 16th century possessed these emotions as well, no matter their social standing. The citizens included Shakespeare as well, a poet and playwright of the 16th century, and writer of the play Macbeth. Shakespeare transfers the idea of negative emotions to Macbeth by using blood to symbolize guilt, among other emotions in the protagonists they do not show otherwise. In Macbeth, William Shakespeare uses blood to show the inner-conflict of the
As Lady Macbeth’s confidence begins to falter, the result from her vaulting ambition, guilt, is demonstrated through the figurative use of blood. In the beginning of Act 5, the Gentlewomen and Doctor are seen discussing the strange behavior of Lady Macbeth. When suddenly, Lady Macbeth proceeds on to the stage, while sleeping, and complains about the endless blood on her hands, “Here’s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Ar...
William Shakespeare uses many techniques to liven the intensity, and the excitement in his plays. In the play of MacBeth, Shakespeare uses blood imagery to add a sense of fear, guilt, shame, insanity, and anger to the atmosphere. The use of blood imagery allows the audience to vision in their minds the crime scene where Duncan was murdered, as well as the scene where Lady MacBeth tries to cope with the consequences of her actions. The talk and sight of blood has a great impact on the strength and depth of the use of blood imagery.
He thinks this blood is permanent and cannot be cleaned. Blood can be cleaned easily by water and not be visible anymore, but it is that dark patch which blotches Macbeth’s conscience that cannot be erased. Macbeth using all of Neptune’s ocean is a hyperbole because he does not need that much water to wash blood off his hands. But he is not talking about the blood he can visually but instead of the blood that has tainted his soul and conscience. As the play progresses, Macbeth’s guilt actually decreases. He begins to commit more and more murders despite feeling incredibly guilt after his first. This shows how Macbeth progresses as a character. Killing for him has become a habit by the last act of the play and blood spilled selfishly, for personal gain, does not matter to him anymore. Therefore, Macbeth experienced guilt when he killed Duncan and “saw” blood on his
In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the theme of guilt and conscience is one of many explored throughout the play. Macbeth, is a well respected Scottish noble who in the beginning of the play is a man everyone looks up to; however as the play progresses he makes a number of bad decisions. Eventually, as a result of his actions he suffers guilt and this plays heavily upon his character until his personality is completely destroyed. Shakespeare uses a range of techniques in order to develop this theme such as, characters, imagery.
Shakespeare employs symbolism and imagery to explore the themes of Good vs. Evil and Suffering in his play Macbeth. Shakespeare uses blood to portray murder and wrongdoing, “I am in blood, stepp’d in so far that should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.” (III. iv. 136). He uses daggers to portray the same idea, and the two are often used with each
Shakespeare employs the powerful symbol of blood to augment the tragic nature of Macbeth, while dually adding dramatic effect to the play. Blood’s recurring symbolism throughout the play constantly reminds the audience of the Macbeth’s irreconcilable guilt. Blood’s symbolism in the murder of Duncan transforms an act of treachery into a ghastly betrayal. The symbolic appearance of blood throughout the intermediate parts of the play maintains the depth of the Macbeth’s unforgiveable guilt. The use of blood as a symbol in the conclusion of the play asserts the perpetuity of the Macbeth’s guilt. Shakespeare’s inclusion of blood as a major symbol in Macbeth creates a compelling tragedy in which the audience is able to comprehend the magnitude of the Macbeth’s irreconcilable guilt.
Blood is something that we need to live. So it is clearly understood when Shakespeare uses the symbol of blood to represent murder, betrayal, and death, to show all of the evil that was going on. It is a symbol that was used the most in the play Macbeth, and had different meanings.
In conclusion, symbolism is used to emphasize a theme through repetition and imagery. It is used to emphasize the theme of the corruption of power due to Macbeth's actions. Blood representing guilt, blood murder, and pain, the contrast of light and dark representing good and evil and the archetypal pattern of purification by using water representing removal of guilt, cleansing and peace are the main symbols used repeatedly to emphasize this theme. These symbols portray the theme effectively to allow the audience to grasp and involve themselves into the play.