Filter Your Search Results:

Imagery in Macbeth Essay


One significant pattern of imagery ever present through Shakespeares Macbeth is blood. The image of blood saturates the play, Shakespeare uses blood imagery to show the symbolic transformation of Macbeth from patriotic heroism to treacherous murderer and his demise by using the bravery of the bloodied soldiers news of the battle in which Scotland triumphant, the slaughter of king Duncan by Macbeth and the tragic heros own bloody beheading at the hands of the hero Macduff.

The image of blood is introduced just as the the play begins in order to indicate the bravery, courage and patriotism of Macbeth. In act 1, scene 2, King Duncan approaches a wounded soldier on the edge of the battlefield to ask about the battle, what bloody man is that? He can report, /As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt/ The newest state (1.2.1-3). King Duncan comments on this soldier bloodied wounds and clearly whos bravery and heroism is honoured by his battle wounds and bloodied armour. The image of blood is depicted as heroic and patriotic in this scene through the soldier. The soldier then reports the battle scene and credits Macbeth, For brave Macbeth,-well he deserves that name, / distaining fortune, with his brandishd steel (1.1.16-17). He describes Macbeth as brave and claims him victorious in battle. His clear description of Macbeths sword being bloody shows how blood is depicted as an image of honour and bravery. Also since this honourable soldier is recounting macbeths bravery, it further emphasis Macbeths patriotism to his country and king. As the play progresses, one can see the image of blood as well as Macbeth altering towards tyranny, guilt and murder.

As Duncan has decided to spend the night at Macbeth and lady Macbeths castle, the two decide upon to act the deed of murdering king Duncan in order for Macbeth to become king. At this stage of the play, the image of blood has evolved from honour, bravery, patriotism into murder and treason and betrayal as has Macbeth. Macbeth is about to commit the evil task of killing Duncan in his sleep when he hallucinates a floating dagger with its blade bloodied and on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood/Which was not there so before (2.1.46-47). The blade is a representation of Macbeth and his bravery and heroism in the beginning of the play and now suddenly the blood seems to have appeared on its blade that wasnt there before which embodies him changing into a murderer and his betrayal against his country and king for whom he once fought for. One can also see the transformation of blood from bravery into betrayal and murder with lady Macbeth earlier in the paly when she receives the letter from Macbeth of the prophecy he received from the the 3 witches. Her soliloquy shows this transformation, make thick my blood/ Step up the access of passage to remorse ( 1.5.41-42). She wanting the spirits to thicken her blood could indicate her wanting to be cruel, emotionless, and be able to betray her king for power.

It isnt up until the end of the play that we dont see Shakespeare doing anything drastic with the image of blood other then when the scenes involve Malcolm and Ross the image of blood is very pure and worrior like and when the play shifts to macbeth, the image of blood is very dark, and evil like.. After the murder of the king, Shakespeare keeps the image of blood dark,evil , treacherious to emphasis Macbeth himself being like that. Towards the end of the play however that seems to change back to heroism and honour with the death of the tragic hero by the hands of the hero Macduff. Macduff fights Macbeth in order to avenge the murder of his family at the hands of Macbeth. Macduff believes the only honourable thing to do is avenge his family. Macduff succeeds in killing Macbeth by beheading him only to carry his bloodied head to Malcolm, behold, where we stands the usurpers cursed head (5.8.54-55). Macduff has honourably avenged his family and by doing so he has also altered the image of blood into heroism and patriotism because unlike Macbeth he declares Malcolm as his king not himself.

Shakespeare brilliantly makes a full circled transformation of blood throughout the play to emphasies the tragic heros own evolution from patriotic heroism into treachery and murderer and his downfall at the hands of the hero Macduff.

You'll need to sign up to view the entire essay.

Sign Up Now, It's FREE
Filter Your Search Results: