Seeing as how the play Macbeth is classified as a tragedy, it is no surprise that blood is the dominant image found throughout the play. This imagery is centered around the protagonist, Macbeth, and his wife, Lady Macbeth along their journey to insanity. Blood imagery is found as early as the second scene, where the Sergeant describes to King Duncan, Malcom, and others the upheaval on the battle field which he witnessed, “… with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution, like Valour’s minion carved out his passage, till he faced the slave, which never shook hands, nor bade farewell to him till he unseamed him from the nave to the chops, and fixed his head upon our battlements.” (1. 2. 19-25). Here, the captain is ironically explaining how the, “… brave Macbeth…” (1. 2. 18) – since we know that he really isn’t brave nor the leader everyone thought he was – slayed Macdonwald, the leader of the rival Norwegians fighting against the homeland, Scotland, to win the battle. The motif of violence is introduced through the gory descriptive analysis of the defeat of the Norwegian leader and is carried throughout the play. After hearing the witch...
“This tyrant whose sole name blisters our tongues, was once thought honest…” (77). This quote represents the change of Macbeth throughout the play. The use of blood imagery is used to represent the character development of Macbeth from a noble thane to a murdering tyrant. We first see blood imagery characterizing Macbeth when he is called noble for defeating Norway. Then, the idea of un-washable blood shows that Macbeth’s character will change. When Macbeth begins to experience the blood of others on his own hands, it leads him to ultimately become the “villain” or antagonist of the play. Finally, before the death of Macbeth, blood imagery has been used to characterize Macbeth so much that he is now over confident and seems to be fueled by the idea of it. By examining the use of blood imagery, one can determine that blood represents Macbeth’s character development from an honorable thane to a disrespected tyrant.
In conclusion, blood in Macbeth is a juxtaposition, it leads to victory, however it also leads to tragedy and guilt. The theme of violence and cruelty can be revealed by the imagery of blood because when there is violence or cruelty there is most likely blood.
Shakespeare’s use of blood imagery builds the initial characterization of Macbeth in Act I as having an ability to display and feel guilt and his hesitance to commit treason with this quote, “We still have judgment here, that we but teach bloody instructions, which, being taught, return to plague the inventor” (Shakespeare 39). This quote is important to Macbeth’s characterization because he is able to think about Duncan’s murder rationally at this point. He attempts to show Lady Macbeth the consequences of their actions, to no avail. Even though they still commit the murder, this quote demonstrates that at this time in the play, Macbeth is still able to feel guilt over it. Macbeth’s characterization can also be shown in ...
29 December 2013
Light vs. Dark
In Macbeth there are many examples of light verses dark imagery. In Macbeth light is represents peace. Darkness represents horrible events or death.
“It will have blood: they say blood will have blood” (Mac. 3.4.149). These ominous words spoken by Macbeth are the first signs of his guilt and despair. The imagery that William Shakespeare used in his play, Macbeth, shows readers the dramatic contrast between altruism and narcissism. Though Macbeth begins as a loyal thane and general, he quickly has a change of heart, evolving into a ruthless murderer, and finally into a corrupt tyrant. From the beginning, Macbeth never realizes the long-term effects of his choices, and that, along with his lust for power, is what ultimately leads to his downfall. Macbeth never would have predicted that his life would turn out the way it did, saying “If good, why do I yield to that suggestion/Whose horrid image doth unfix my hair/And make my seated heart knock at my ribs...?” (Mac.1.3.145-147) when the thought of killing the king infiltrated his mind. Through Shakespeare's use of blood and animal imagery, Macbeth's metamorphoses between a humble thane, a brutal killer, and his ascent to a murderous, eccentric king impelled by his pride and lust for power is vibrantly illustrated to readers.
Blackness in Macbeth
The Bard of Avon shows in his tragedy Macbeth an evil couple who face the dark hand of death - as a result of criminal deeds. Let us look closely at the growing, enveloping darkness of the play as it progresses.
In his book, On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy, H. S. Wilson identifies the darkness in the play with evil, hell, devils:
Mr. Kenneth Muir, in his introduction to the play - which does not, by the way, interpret it simply from this point of view - aptly describes the cumulative effect of the imagery: "The contrast between light and darkness [suggested by the imagery] is part of a general antithesis between good and evil, devils and angels, evil and grace, hell and heaven . . .
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.
The scene with Macbeth finding a bloody dagger thinking “ And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood.” (2.1.55) This asserts guilt through the symbolism of blood, that Macbeth imagines blood on the dagger on the grounds that he feels guilty about what he is going to do. When Macbeth orders the murderers to kills his friend Banquo and he returns as a ghost. Macbeth tells that "There’s blood upon thy face". (3.4.16) The blood also symbolizes guilt because Macbeth indirectly kills Banquo and now Macbeth knows that the blood of a person who is murdered will come back to the person who committed the murder. Another scene utilizing blood as a symbol is when Macbeth assumes the throne as king of Scotland and mentions to Banquo about Malcolm and Donalbain fleeing to England and Ireland saying “We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed In England and in Ireland.” (3.1.33-34) The word “bloody” mention by Macbeth portrays how Macbeth wants Banquo to see that the two sons are guilty and fled because they killed their father. The recurring symbol of blood symbolizes guilt from the actions characters that are responsible for a specified wrongdoing.
Correspondingly, Macbeth spun in and out of control throughout the play. Macbeth says, “stars, hide your fires; let not light see my black desires” (1.4): this reveals that Macbeth is taking over the situation by following through with the murder of Duncan. It also reveals that he is somewhat reluctant to carry out this dark deed. “Banquo, thy soul’s flight, if it find heaven, must find it out tonight” (3.2). Macbeth begins to spiral down once he misplaces his morals and he decides to have Banquo