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How Does Shakespeare Make Dramatic Use of Images of Blood in 'Macbeth'?

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13 -How Does Shakespeare Make Dramatic Use of Images of Blood in 'Macbeth'? 'Macbeth' is the story of a nobleman, who, while trying to fulfil a prophecy told to him by three witches, murders his king to cause his ascension to the throne of Scotland. After the King's death, Macbeth reigns as a cruel and ruthless tyrant who is forced to kill more people to keep control of the throne. Finally, Scottish rebels combined with English forces attack Macbeth's castle. A Scottish thane named Macduff, who has sacrificed everything and whose family was killed by this tyrant, then kills Macbeth in the closing scene. Considering the fact that many people are killed in 'Macbeth', the number of murders committed on-stage is minimal. We have known blood to represent life, death, and often injury. Blood is an essential part of life, and without blood, we could not live. Shakespeare uses this fact to create imagery to represent treason, murder, guilt, and death. These ideas are constant throughout the play. King Duncan is the first to mention blood, and he does so in the second scene of the play. At this time, Scotland has defeated Norway; Macbeth and his best friend, Banquo, have led the Scottish forces to victory. ...read more.


At the time, Lady Macbeth is the evil one of the pair, whilst Macbeth seems full of goodness. In this world, Lady Macbeth sees opportunity. The only problem seen to her was that she was a woman; she wishes that her weak, female body would change: "unsex me here, And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full Of direst cruelty; make thick my blood Stop up the access and passage to remorse," Act 1 sc. 5 (lines 40-43). Lady Macbeth thinks that if she had thick blood, she could kill without guilt and penitence. Lady Macbeth keeps her composure and puts on a fa´┐Żade to the world. The blood doesn't seem to bother her, evil has filled her and a little blood does not tamper with her emotions. After she smears the guards with the king's blood, she returns to her husband proclaiming him a coward. She tells her husband that her hands are the same colour as his but she is ashamed that he has a "white" coward heart. Lady Macbeth shows the most vivid example of guilt with the use of imagery with blood in the scene in which she walks in her sleep, Act 5 scene 1. She says: "Out, damned spot! ...read more.


We now find that Macbeth has entered so far into hell and the world of evil, and it is impossible for him to return to righteousness. He will be forced to kill more and more people in order to retain control of the throne. The sins he has committed has not only perverted his virtuous life, but has condemned him to an eternity in hell. There is no chance of redemption; he has permanently allied himself with the forces of evil with the murder of his king. I think that Shakespeare conveys the theme of death, murder and treason through the imagery of blood effectively. Blood, being an important part of essential life, is a perfect metaphor for death and murder. It is an successful symbol and it is used well throughout the play. He uses this blood imagery to enhance the audience's understanding of Macbeth's character and the audience has now witnessed the complete transformation of Macbeth. He starts as a noble, brave and just person. He gradually becomes evil, ambitious and treacherous during and after Duncan's murder, after his initial feelings of remorse for his crime. He finally realises that he will be punished for his sins. Due to these many changes, it has been proved that the symbol of blood has different meanings, which can be attributed to it throughout the course of this play. ...read more.

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