Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Imagery in William Shakespeare's Macbeth It is thought that Shakespeare’s popular play Macbeth was written upon King James’ instructions in 1605 and was first performed in 1606. He was able to recognise the importance which history provided and this is reflected in his portrayal of a turbulent and violent Scotland in the eleventh century. The seventeenth century theatre productions were considered to be a public affair with both the poor and rich classes in attendance. During this Jacobean time the audience concentrated on the elaborate and vivid language to appeal to their senses and capture their passion. There was little in the way of scenery or props therefore the sensuous language was a vital and unavoidable feature. Macbeth is a play which is concerned with supernatural forces, ambition, masculinity and strength. It is the tale of a good man turned evil due to ambition and the consequences which eventually lead to his dramatic downfall. These challenged the values of the society of this period and provoked morality. There is a sequence of recurring imagery throughout Macbeth which is significant to assist with the audiences understanding of the play. This technique also reinforces the themes and events, heightening the overall atmosphere. These products of our imagination are important symbols, visually clarifying our presumptions and speculations and creating mental pictures. Shakespeare’s intentional use of imagery reflects the tone of the play and is precise and intensifying. There is an abundance of imagery throughout the play, however, some are less obvious than others. The use of blood, clothing, the supernatural or unnatural and the contrast between light and dark are apparent from the very beginning.
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