Analysis Of How Blood Builds The Theme Of Endless Guilt In Macbeth

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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

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