There are a variety of fluids in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth such as milk, water and blood. Milk quenches one’s thirst, whereas blood pours out of a person. Water is used to wash stains away, whereas blood can taint a person. The blood image is very potent throughout Macbeth and reinforces the major themes of bravery, guilt, and violence evoked by the three witches. At the beginning of the play, the bloody captain and Lady Macbeth have very different opinions of what is brave (especially the qualities of bravery that Macbeth either shows or does not show) and both use different images of milk and blood to prove their point. The captain is bleeding because he fought bravely in battle, especially against Malcolm’s (the son of King Duncan of Scotland) “captivity” (I ii 6). His wounds signify his loyalty to Scotland. In his severely wounded state, however, the bloody captain decides to speak about Macbeth’s bravery against the Norwegian invaders and especially the rebel leader Macdonwald to the King. Macbeth has been killing so many people that his sword “smoke[s]” (I ii 21), or steams, with blood. These “execution[s]” (I ii 21) foreshadow his many other murders with his “brandished steel” (I ii 20) later on in the play. These executions are not for the good of Scotland, but for his acquiring (and guarding) the title of King of Scotland. Later in Act I, Lady Macbeth reads a letter from Macbeth telling her about the witches’ prophecy for Macbeth and Banquo, how he was hailed Thane of Cawdor by the witches and would eventually be King. Instantly, Lady Macbeth began plotting as to how Macbeth would go about murdering King Duncan to gain the title. However, she “fear[s]” (I v 15) that Macbeth’s human “nature” (I v 15) is too “milk[y]” ... ... middle of paper ... ...(IV iii 117) is “miserable” (IV iii 118) since there is an “untitled tyrant” (IV iii 118), or Macbeth, in its midst who is undeserving of a title. Macbeth, according to Macduff, is “bloody sceptred” (IV ii 118) for his sceptre and sign of his authority as a monarch, unlike those of other rulers, is covered in blood, since he had to murder to ascend the throne. It is only when Ross brings news that Macduff’s family has been murdered (most likely by Macbeth), however, that Malcolm encourages Macduff to slay Macbeth, and Macduff agrees. Macbeth wades in the blood of his victims while Malcolm and Macduff use blood imagery to describe the violence and destruction of Scotland (first evoked by the three witches) under Macbeth’s rule. Works Cited Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Macbeth. Boston: D.C. Heath and Company, 1915. Google Books. Web. 3 Sept. 2015.
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Shakespeare used the image of blood to portray the central idea of Macbeth, King Duncan’s murder. The crime is foreshadowed in the second scene of the first act. The king shouts, “ What bloody man is that?” (I,ii,1) He is referring to a soldier coming in from battle. The soldier then explains to King Duncan of Macbeth’s heroics in battle. One assumes that Macbeth is bloody just like the soldier. The soldier describes Macbeth in action “Disdaining Fortune, with his brandished steel, / Which smoked with bloody execution.” (I,ii,17-18) This line connects Macbeth with killing, and hints at the future.
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 ...
In “Macbeth" the motif of blood is presented everywhere in the story. In Macbeth blood represents bravery and honor. For instance, when it says,"For brave Macbeth well he deserves that name, disdaining fortune, with his brandish'd steel, which smoked with bloody execution ." Which means Macbeth defended his king's honor and his own. Also, that shows in the killing of Macdonwald when Macbeth chops him in two reveals a more violent and merciless individual than just a brave soldier.Therefore, the first meaning of blood seems to establish a sense of honor, and then second mention of blood seems to communicate
His hunger for power leads him towards a down-spiraling path. After becoming king, Macbeth orders the death of Banquo because he thinks Banquo is suspicious that he committed the murder of Duncan. Because he is scared that revenge will be sought, he hires three murders to kill Banquo. Macbeth invites all the noble men to his house for dinner, the same night that the murder of Banquo will be committed. Macbeth sees the first murderer and says “There’s blood upon thy face,” (3.4.13). Then the murderer replies he has left Banquo in a ditch with “twenty trenched gashes on his head,” (3.4.26). Banquo was Macbeth’s loyal and trustworthy friend but Macbeth betrays him and all he has done just to become powerful. Therefore the blood Macbeth sees on the murderer symbolizes that he has betrayed his own friend and, if he keeps murdering, the blood will continue to shed. After speaking to the murderer, Macbeth sees the ghost of Banquo with blood on his head and says, “They say blood will have blood,” (3.4.121). This means that the blood of the murder victim will seek the blood of his killer. Macbeth could be seeing his own blood on Banquo’s face foreshadowing that justice will be sought for the crimes he has committed. When Macbeth meets with Macduff on the battlefield he knows his chances of killing Macduff are slim but he admits that he enjoys killing and likes to see blood flow; “Whiles I see lives, the gashes / Do better upon them,” (5.8.2-3). This proves that his hunger for power led him to enjoy killing those he knew and betraying them. Although throughout the play Macbeth appears tough, deep within his conscience, he knows he is
The imagery of blood shows Lady Macbeth wants to get rid of her guilt. Lady Macbeth states, “And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood” (1.5. 49-50). Lady Macbeth is saying that she wants be filled with cruelty from top to bottom and to thicken her blood because she knows that from what she is about to do, she will get guilt.
Both MacBeth and Lady MacBeth react differently from seeing so much blood and killing innocent men, women, and children. Lady MacBeth, in the fifth act, has become overwhelmed with guilt that she has gone insane. "Out, dammed spot! Out, I say! One- two- why then tis’ time to do ’t. Hell is murky.- Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?" Lady MacBeth is in fear that someone would accuse MacBeth and herself for the murder of Duncan. She is tries to get rid of the evidence, the blood that has stained her hands, that could hold her guilty for the death of Duncan.
First, readers see blood imagery representing Macbeth’s character development when it defines him as noble in the beginning. Macbeth is first introduced in the play by a valiant captain. Even with all of the captain’s unbearable wounds, he still manages to be able to speak highly of Macbeth. He says, “But all’s too weak, for brave Macbeth- well he deserves that name” (5). This is significant in analyzing character development because these are the very first things we hear about Macbeth. It stands out to readers that blood is the first thing to characterize Macbeth. We see he is honorable because the use of blood imagery defines him as a leader. It says, “…with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution…” (5). The audience now gets an image of brave and bold Macbeth winning a battle. Knowing the outcome of...
One of the themes in the tragedy of Macbeth is that of blood. Macbeth is known for his skills as a warrior and his mercilessness that is shown in his killing of MacDonwald. This warrior mentality quickly spreads into his life, and he begins to make killing a habit. When he is told in a prophecy that he shall be king, Macbeth takes it upon himself to murder Duncan, king of Scotland. After this murder he begins to see visions of blood on his hands, blood nothing could remove. As Macbeth becomes more ambitious, he also begins to kill more people to get the power that he wants. The theme of blood is shown throughout the play, and is a problem that Macbeth finds harder and harder to rid himself of after each killing.
In both the original adaptations of Macbeth and the in Bell Shakespeare production, blood and clothing are used to emphasise the important themes of guilt and fate. Both versions use blood in similar ways to symbolise guilt. Characters such as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth talk about the blood on their hands as a type of guilt that for them will not wash away. Both interpretations maintain the hierarchy of the characters through their clothing but the Bell production has actors in modern clothing. Fate correlates into this where predictions of the characters fate are questioned through the type of clothing that they should or should not wear. By examining both versions of the play, examples will be presented that blood symbolises guilt and that
The symbolism of blood prior to, and immediately following Duncan’s murder amplifies the magnitude of Macbeth’s treachery. Following the prophecy of the witches, Macbeth contemplates the possible effects of murdering Duncan in order to gain the crown. Macbeth believes the killing of Duncan will provide "bloody instruction" to Scotland and will in turn "plague th' inventor" (1.7.9-10). This quotation characterizes the murder of Duncan as a bloody deed, therefore amplifying the severity of the crime. Prior to the murder of Duncan, Macbeth hallucinates bloody splotches on his dagger. Macbeth voices this hallucination when he states, "I see thee still, and on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, which was not so before" (Macbeth 2.1.46-48). The false appearance of blood on Macbeth's dagger asserts his hesitancy to murder Duncan. In this case, blood symbolizes the possible guilt of Macbeth upon the murder of Duncan. Immediately following the murder of Duncan, Macbeth uses the symbol of blood to assert the magnitude of his crime. Macbeth conveys immediate concern when he states, "Will all great Neptune's ocean...
Gratuitous use of blood is the staple of most murder scenes. Perhaps this technique was first developed by Shakespeare for his play Macbeth. The blood imagery used in Macbeth, adds to the horror of the play. There are several examples of this throughout the play. The first noteworthy example occurs in the second scene after the murder of Duncan, when Macbeth is trying to wash the blood from his hands. The second example occurs in the third scene when Macbeth refers to the king’s gory wounds. The third and final occurrence involving blood imagery takes place in scene four while Ross is talking to Macduff about the murder. As a whole, all of these blatant examples of blood imagery help to augment the gruesome atmosphere of the play.
When reading Macbeth, one might notice the repeated use of the word blood. While it might be thought that this is due to the violent nature of the play, it actually signifies a loss of innocence. This is demonstrated through the treacherous deeds of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, and Shakespeare’s reoccurring theme of the corruptibility of the human mind. By examining these, it can be determined that Shakespeare’s use of blood represents a loss of innocence.
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.