Images of Blood in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Images of Blood in William Shakespeare's Macbeth In Shakespeare?s tragic play Macbeth, the symbol of blood is portrayed often and with different meanings. Blood as a symbol is developed throughout the play until it becomes the dominating theme. Perhaps the best way to show how the symbol of blood changes throughout the play is to follow the character changes in Macbeth. First he is a brave honored soldier, but as the play progresses acknowledged and trusted by his king, he becomes a treacherous person who has become identified with death and bloodshed, and ends up killing Duncan who put so much trust in him. This is ironic because the previous thane of Cawdor was executed for treason, which is the first thought that comes into his mind when he is appointed thane. He knows that the king?s trust was misplaced; the fact that he murdered his king plays upon his conscience and shows his guilt in different forms. The situation worsens for him after he murders Banquo, who was one of his most loyal and trusted friends. A similar idea can also be applied to lady Macbeth, as her character changes dramatically throughout the course of the play. Hers and Macbeth?s roles can be seen to swap in a way. When the idea of killing Duncan comes into the minds of Macbeth and lady Macbeth, Macbeth is uncertain, he seems withdrawn about the whole idea. Lady Macbeth comes across as evil and bloodthirsty, for it is she who ensures that the murder takes place. Towards the end of the play though, although both characters show the immense guilt of what they have done, it is lady Macbeth who is now withdrawn, and Macbeth who comes across as evil, for the full spell of the witches has now taken effect, he does not believe that the Scots will be d... ... middle of paper ... ...s that he is guilty, when he says "But get thee back, my soul is too much charg'd with blood of thine already.? Of which, Macduff replies, "I have no words, my voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain than terms can give thee out." After the death of Macbeth at the hands of Macduff, the symbolic theme of blood swings back to the theme of triumph and glory that it was at the beginning of the play. It is the symbol of honor to Malcolm this time. The death of Macbeth is an honored feat that Macduff is congratulated for. As we have seen, the meaning of the symbol of blood changes from honor to treachery, and then to guilt, after this, it returns to the symbolic meaning of honor once again after the villain that changed the meaning from honor to tyranny is killed. Works Cited: Shakespeare, William. Macbeth. Ed. Dietrich Klose. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1970.
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