Symbols, Symbolism, Images, and Imagery in Macbeth

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Imagery and Symbols in Macbeth

Shakespeare uses many forms of imagery in his plays. Imagery, the art of making images, the products of imagination. In the play Macbeth Shakespeare applies the imagery of clothing, darkness and blood. Each detail in his imagery contains an important symbol of the play. These symbols need to be understood in order to interpret the entire play.

Within the play `Macbeth' the imagery of clothing portrays that Macbeth is seeking to hide his "disgraceful self" from his eyes and others. . Shakespeare wants to keep alive the contrast between the pitiful creature that Macbeth really is and the disguises he assumes to conceal the fact. Macbeth is constantly represented symbolically as the wearer of robes not belonging to him. He is wearing an undeserved dignity, which is a point well made by the uses of clothing imagery. The description of the purpose of clothing in Macbeth is the fact that these garments are not his. Therefore, Macbeth is uncomfortable in them because he is continually conscious of the fact that they do not belong to him. In the following passage, the idea constantly reappears, Macbeth's new honors sit ill upon him, like loose and badly fitting garments, belonging to someone else:

New honors come upon him

Like strange garments,


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...nto thinking that there is no turning back and he must continue to murder and deceit.

Imagery plays a crucial role in developing of the plot. This is seen through the images of clothing, darkness and blood. Clothing in Macbeth is often compared to positions or ranks. Macbeth's ambition caused him to strive to improve his social standing. Darkness establishes the evil parts of the play. Blood the most dominant image in the play brings a sense of guilt and violence to the tragedy. It leads Macbeth to continue his deceitful life. Shakespeare makes his use of imagery well known. Without imagery Macbeth may have lacked because imagery gives an effect on the play as a whole.
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