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Imagery in Macbeth

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In the tragedy Macbeth, by William Shakespeare vivid imagery heavily employing blood is utilized to convey messages and display the state of mind of the characters. The image of blood serves to show the literal and figurative blood on the hands of Macbeth and his wife, and shows their deteriorating mental state as the gravity of what they have done takes them over. Before the murder of King Duncan, Lady Macbeth says “make thick my blood; / Stop up the access and passage to remorse” (1.v.43-44). Lady Macbeth is calling upon spirits to thicken her blood and poison it, so she can build up the strength to kill Duncan easily. She also says “My hands are of your color; but I shame / to wear a heart so white” (2.ii.61-62). In this quote, Lady Macbeth is talking to her husband saying that they both have blood on their hands now due to Duncan’s murder, but she would be ashamed to have a heart as cowardly as his. She then advises him to go wash his hands, which will get rid of the blood on them. This is very ironic when compared to the state of Lady Macbeth when she later goes mad. The image of blood is very prominent, and instrumental in the plot of Macbeth. Uses of blood like this are very frequent, and set the stage for what is to come and move things along. Shakespeare exhibits the deteriorating mental state of the main characters by repeatedly referring to images of blood.
As Macbeth toils and troubles himself about the task at hand, killing Duncan, Shakespeare uses images of blood in order to show how he is feeling about it. During Macbeth’s vision of the dagger suspended in midair he proclaims “And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, / Which was not so before” (2.i.46-47). All of a sudden the clean dagger floating in front of ...

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...of Banquo and his son due to the witches’ prediction, Macbeth states, “with thy bloody and invisible hand / Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond / Which keeps me pale!” (3.ii.48-50). Macbeth is scared and therefore pale, and thinks that if he kills Banquo, he will be okay. Throughout the course of the play, Macbeth and his wife both take a turn for a worse, but in their own way. Macbeth starts off doubtful and not sure about what he is doing, and becomes more and more bloodthirsty and reckless as the story progresses. Lady Macbeth on the other hand starts off strong willed and blood thirsty, but then progressively becomes more and more guilt-ridden and insane, and they both end up dying. The recurring images of blood also work to advance the plot as well. The vivid and sometimes gruesome details serve a vital role in Macbeth and the overall impact of the play.
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