Macbeth: Shakespeare’s Two Key Motifs

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The play “Macbeth”, by Shakespeare, contains many motifs. Two very powerful motifs that Shakespeare illustrates in this play are blood, and weather. Blood is important because it shows that this play is violent, and the blood physically shows that these characters in the play are warriors. Weather plays an important role because it usually foreshadows events that are about to take place. For example, a storm usually foreshadows terrible things, like death and destruction.
A major motif in “Macbeth” is blood. Blood is talked about everywhere in Macbeth. Blood is found when Macbeth kills his own relative, King Duncan, in order to gain power and to become the king himself. After Macbeth carries out Duncan’s murder, he is crowned King of Scotland. As Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s murderous journey begins, the death toll rises; and with each death, the amount of blood on Macbeth metaphorically and literally increases. Guilt starts to control Macbeth. When King Duncan is killed, Macbeth is convinced that “all great Neptune’s oceans” would not wash the blood clean from his hands. Guilt is eating away at Macbeth, and his desire and ambition for power is what leads to him to carry out many more murders.
Blood is found several times in the text: “may thick my blood”, “the sleepy grooms with blood”, “Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?”, “Would to the bleeding and the grim alarm excite the mortified man.” Blood appears in “Macbeth” in two ways: It appears in the text, and it also appears literally, due to the many deaths in the play.
In a lot of ways, blood symbolizes a person’s bravery. For example, In Act I, after the battle, Duncan asks the wounded sergeant, "Wh...

... middle of paper ... Another Major motif in the play is weather. Sunshine and clear skies are not discussed at all in the play. Shakespeare wanted to create a dark and gloomy background. Most of the descriptions about the weather indicate storm-like conditions such as rain, thunder, and lightning. The three witches are also associated with the weather motif. Right before the first scene of the play, it is stated in the text: “Thunder and lightning. Enter three witches.” Thunder and lightning usually represents an unnatural presence. Shakespeare wrote this play with intention on giving the reader this lesson. Too much greed can consume you and make you do something that you will possibly regret.

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