Dark Images and Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

Dark Images and Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

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Dark Imagery in Macbeth


Shakespeare uses a lot of imagery of night and darkness in Macbeth. This imagery is used to portray an image of a desolate, deranged place, full of tumult and disorder. Darkness and night imagery is also used to create an atmosphere of malevolence and misleading obscurity. Images of night and darkness are often used at times in the play when a death has occurred, or some other tragic event. Shakespeare also uses imagery of night and darkness in scenes with the witches, to make them seem evil and unruly. When someone is doing or thinking of something evil, there is often imagery of night and darkness, which helps to causes it to appear more evil and deranged. The images of night and darkness make the play more entertaining and captivating, which maintains the audience’s attention.


Darkness is often used at times in the play when a tragic event has occurred. The morning after Macbeth killed Duncan remained in darkness, because the sun did not rise. "Is ‘t the night’s predominance or the day’s shame that darkness does the face of the earth entomb when living light should kiss it?" (2:4, 10-12) Ross said these words referring to the unusual darkness of the day. He wondered if the night had become stronger than the day, and overcome it, so that the sun could no longer shine. He mused that it seemed as though the earth was shrouded with the darkness, when the light of the sun that brings life should have ensconced it. In this quote, darkness symbolizes death and light symbolizes life. It suggests that the whole country is as good as dead since their king has been killed, because the natural order has been disturbed. The disturbance to the natural order caused all of nature is disturbed, d...

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...ne to know that it was her husband, with the plan that she had devised, who had killed Duncan, including God. She thought that she could hide in the darkness from the judgment that she and Macbeth deserved, and that it would conceal her wrongdoings from the eyes of God. The images of darkness in Lady Macbeth’s soliloquy help to create a frightful image of her malevolent plan.

Imagery of night and darkness is used quite frequently in the play to portray an image of a desolate, deranged place, brimming with tumult, disorder and transgression. Night and darkness are often used to symbolize death, tragedy and corrupt deeds, and to paint a deranged, haphazard picture of characters, their wrongdoings or their malevolent thoughts. Shakespeare has used this imagery to enhance the play by creating the exact atmosphere of pandemonium and devastation that he wanted.


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