Imagery In Macbeth Essay

1421 words - 6 pages

One thing every culture, religion, race, and country has in common is the blood that runs through its people’s veins. No one is a stranger to blood, and its universality allows many authors to utilize it as effective imagery in their literary works. British playwright William Shakespeare uses blood imagery in many of his plays, one prevalent example being Macbeth. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses blood imagery to symbolize guilt, foreshadow negative events, and develop Macbeth as a tragic hero.
In his famous tragedy Macbeth, Shakespeare uses blood imagery to symbolize the guilt of both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. For example, as soon as he murders King Duncan, Macbeth, regretful and guilt-ridden, says, ¨Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red¨ (2.2.57-60). Clearly, Macbeth is intelligent enough to know that the blood on his hands can physically be washed away with a little water, but, because Macbeth says there isn’t enough water in an entire ocean to clean his hands, the reader can infer he is referring not only to the physical blood on his hands, but also to his guilt over killing Duncan. Maynard Mack, the Sterling Professor of English at Yale University and author of Everybody's Shakespeare, writes that that the blood in Macbeth is ¨...both ordinary and special. it sticks like real blood: ‘his secret murders sticking on his hands,’ says Angus of Macbeth (5.2.17). It smells as real blood smells: ‘here’s the smell of blood still,’ says Lady Macbeth (5.1.47) hopelessly washing. Yet it finally covers everything Macbeth has touched, in ways both qualitative and quantitative that real blood could not” (191). Mack states that the blood in Macbeth has physical and symbolic qualities, supporting the idea that the blood on Macbeth’s hand is actually there, but is meant to symbolize his guilt. Cassandra Nelson, an assistant to the Provost at Boston University with an English PhD, states in the Encyclopedia of Themes in Literature that Macbeth “...feels changed, tainted, by what he has done. He describes his guilt as a stain that he cannot wash off, for it would sooner color the whole world than fade from his skin”. Shakespeare also uses blood to symbolize Lady Macbeth’s initial lack of guilt. After Macbeth kills Duncan and is wracked with guilt, Lady Macbeth tells him he can wash off the blood with a little water (2.2.65). This shows Lady Macbeth’s lack of remorse at this point in the play. Later on, after Lady Macbeth learns that her husband killed Macduff’s wife and children, a doctor and a gentlewoman in Dunsinane hear her say, “The thane of Fife had a wife. where is she now? - What, / Will these hands ne’er be clean?” (5.1.36-37). This shows how Lady Macbeth has transformed from ruthless and guiltless after Duncan’s murder to guilt-ridden, haunted by her metaphorically blood-covered hands. This is reiterated later in the same...

Find Another Essay On Imagery in Macbeth

Imagery in Shakespeares Macbeth Essay

1284 words - 5 pages In all of Shakespeare's plays he uses many forms of imagery. Imagery, the art of making images, the products of imagination. In the play 'Macbeth' Shakespeare applies the imagery of clothing, darkness and . (listed from least to most), Each detail is his imagery, it seems to contain an important symbol of the play. Symbols that the reader must understand if they are to interpret either the passage or the play as a whole. Within the play 'Macbeth

Imagery in Macbeth Essay

1546 words - 7 pages The popular quote stating that a picture is worth a thousand words applies perfectly to imagery in William Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth. Shakespeare is famous for utilizing vivid imagery ingeniously to appeal to the reader’s senses. In his historic play, Macbeth, Shakespeare develops many types of imagery, a few of which are blood, clothing, nature, and light versus darkness. Imagery in this play is crucial in the development and revealing of

Blood Imagery in Macbeth

1907 words - 8 pages with King Lear. In his critique of Shakespeare’s works and plays, Charles Haines describes Macbeth as “one of Shakespeare’s shortest plays, containing just 2,108 lines.” He further states that it is a vigorous, headlong drama, a relentless spectacle in red and black. (Haines, p. 105) This red and black spectacle reveals itself to the reader and audience through the use of blood imagery. Blood, or the imagery attached to it, appears 42 times in

Blood Imagery In Macbeth

982 words - 4 pages Blood in MacbethEvery good play has a certain elements that make it stand out from the other plays. An important one of these is the use of imagery involved. Good use of imagery can make a play exceptional. It plays a significant role in every play as it helps generating a sense of mood or atmosphere. It also adds dramatic effects to the play. In Macbeth, blood plays an important role in changing the atmosphere from time to time. Shakespeare

Imagery in Macbeth

946 words - 4 pages 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

Blood Imagery in Macbeth

731 words - 3 pages commit because of a prophecy. This is Shakespeare showing us how corruptible the mind is and how fast we can do evil deeds and lose our innocence. He also uses the world blood to form vivid imagery and connect it to other examples of this theme that uses the word blood. One of these examples occurs in Act 3, after the murder of Banquo. Macbeth say, “I am in blood Steppe din so far that should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er

Imagery in Macbeth

857 words - 3 pages Imagery in Macbeth Shakespeare's powerful imagery has never been more apparent than in Macbeth. He begins the play with a startling image of three witches chanting in a furious thunderstorm, "Fair is foul, and foul is fair. Hover through the fog and filthy air" (1.1.10-11). The eerie chanting creates a dark, mysterious tone that leaves the reader feeling uncomfortable and expecting odd and evil things to happen. Later

Images and Imagery in Macbeth

1028 words - 4 pages Imagery in Macbeth       Darkness, disorder, mayhem, fear, guilt, and hypocrisy are all important themes carried throughout William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" by the effective use of imagery in reference to ill-fitting clothing, blood, and light verses dark. Imagery in this play tiptoes its way though every scene to create a malevolent atmosphere of shame and false pretenses.   The contrast between light and dark during

Symbolism and Imagery in Macbeth

1316 words - 5 pages In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, symbolism and imagery are both widely used in illustrating the overall theme of murder. Throughout the play, Shakespeare depicts various types of symbolism and imagery that leads to the downfall of the protagonist, Macbeth. The contrast of light and dark representing good and evil plays a major role in the plot of the play. Blood symbolizes murder and guilt. The symbol of clothing is particularly used to suggest

Supernatural Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth

846 words - 3 pages Supernatural Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, imagery plays a key role in the audience's understanding of the theme of the play. One type of imagery that is prevalent in the story is supernatural or unnatural imagery. With the sense of the supernatural and interference of the spirits, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are led to dangerous, tempting things. Macbeth's character changes dramatically from the brave

Images and Imagery in Macbeth

1512 words - 6 pages Imagery in Macbeth      Shakespeare uses a variety of techniques in order to add depth and the underlying subtext within his plays. 'Macbeth' is no exception, he uses the stark imagery of clothing, the sickening physicality of blood and the concept of darkness to communicate a number of themes.  In turn this conveys important symbols that can be found within the play.   Within 'Macbeth' the imagery of clothing portrays how Macbeth

Similar Essays

Darkness Imagery In Macbeth Essay

901 words - 4 pages Darkness Imagery in William Shakespeare's Macbeth      Ambition and evil are the basic elements in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Macbeth is a tragedy which was written by Shakespeare in the Elizabethan Era. There was much use of Raphael Holinshed’s Chronicles of England, Scotland, and Ireland as it was necessary for creating the environments and situations in the play. Macbeth takes place mainly in Scotland and is a

Blood Imagery In Macbeth Essay

1822 words - 8 pages the murders become more frequent. William Shakespeare, the author of Macbeth, uses blood imagery to develop Macbeth’s character, create a foil in between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and to symbolize honor and guilt. Blood imagery serves as a device to develop Macbeth’s character throughout the play. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is an honorable man who is brave,courageous, and righteous. However, after Macbeth hears the prophecies of the

Imagery In Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

1091 words - 4 pages What is imagery? How does Shakespeare use imagery in Macbeth and his other plays? Imagery is when the audience uses their five senses while reading to create an image of what is being read in their head. Shakespeare uses imagery in the Tragedy of Macbeth and his other plays because it helps to connect the reader or audience to the characters of the play. Imagery draws a reader in and makes him experience or become a part of the character. When

Blood Imagery In Macbeth Essay

601 words - 2 pages In Shakespeare's Macbeth a play, a man named Macbeth goes through a great transformation; Macbeth goes from being a heroic general in the king's army to an assassin and a tyrant. The theme of the play is never give into evil because it destroys no matter what the benefits are. Blood Imagery is very important in the play; it shows Macbeth's evil ambition in the beginning, middle, and end of the play. In the beginning of the play, blood imagery