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Ed. Barbara Mowat and Paul Warstine. New York: Washington Press, 1992. Traversi, D. A. essay from Harris, Laurie Lanzen, and Scott, Mark W. ed. "The Tragedy of Macbeth."
Supplementing her earlier revelation about King Duncan, Lady Macbeth’s complex character is further explored in her final and perhaps, most crucial scene. The perplexed doctor and gentlewoman witness her irrational sleepwalking, a behavior that references the motif of sleep’s destruction, the “Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,/ Chief nourisher in life’s feast,” (II. ii. 51-52). Another telling sign of the Macbeths’ widespread corruption following the king’s death, as “sleep is murdered” and “much more of the natural order is subverted” (Gilbert 2).
Macbeth: Image of Blood The tragedy of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, includes many images the most notable of which is blood. The recurring image of blood appears to be a vessel through which the audience learns more about the character of the main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is most noticeably affected by the image of blood; she began making references to it even before the murder of Duncan. In her pleading to the spirits, Lady Macbeth prays, "Make thick my blood" (I.v.43) in order that she may not feel any "remorse" for the course of action she plans for her husband and herself. Lady Macbeth sees her thin blood as a weakness in her character and wishes it to be richer (thicker) with the qualities of courage, bravery and even emotional strength, a man's strength.
In the tragedy Macbeth, by William Shakespeare vivid imagery heavily employing blood is utilized to convey messages and display the state of mind of the characters. The image of blood serves to show the literal and figurative blood on the hands of Macbeth and his wife, and shows their deteriorating mental state as the gravity of what they have done takes them over. Before the murder of King Duncan, Lady Macbeth says “make thick my blood; / Stop up the access and passage to remorse” (1.v.43-44). Lady Macbeth is calling upon spirits to thicken her blood and poison it, so she can build up the strength to kill Duncan easily. She also says “My hands are of your color; but I shame / to wear a heart so white” (2.ii.61-62).
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The play Macbeth centers on betrayal, war, and justice and as it does, blood plays a very significant role evoking different types of emotion from different characters throughout the play. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth seemed the most emotionally moved both mentally and physically, by the sight of blood because they had the most to lose. From the beginning of the play with the killing of Duncan, to the dinner party with the bloody ghost of Banquo haunting Macbeth, to one of the final scenes of Lady Macbeth sleep walking trying to get the blood spots off of her hands, blood is shown all throughout the play symbolizing guilt, murder, revenge, and even suicide. After killing Duncan, Macbeth seemed very shocked that he actually committed the murder. This is illustrated in the text as it reads that Macbeth was very pale in the face, fearful, and shocked that he had just actually killed King Duncan.