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Macbeth Shakespeare uses the symbol of blood in Macbeth to represent treason, guilt, murder and death. Shakespeare uses blood as shock treatment in terms of staging in Act II scene 2. He tries to create a sense of reality in the scene and because of the appearance of blood this in turn shocks the audience and therefore makes the scene seem real. As the audience before the scene will be thinking will Macbeth have gone through with the murder? This blood is vital to that reality. The blood helps stage Macbeth's guilt. In, "My hands are of your colour," Lady Macbeth tells us that blood is on both sets of hands. The audience will see that the blood is everywhere, on Macbeth's and Lady Macbeth's hands. Blood is "smeared" everywhere in the scene. Shakespeare uses this blood to emphasise the bloody and gory nature of murder and how the murder follows one wherever one goes. "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood from my hand?" Macbeth can see Duncan's blood even after he has washed his hands. He is so shocked to see the blood and his guilt is so strong, that even after the murder he says: "The fountain of your (Donalbain's, and therefore Duncan's) ...read more.


Closely related with the theme of blood in the play is the theme of sleep. As blood is associated with death and death and sleep are similar towards the naked eye, sleep is indirectly related to blood. For instance, Lady Macbeth uses this similarity to compare the dead body of Duncan with that of a sleeping body. For example, "The dead and the sleeping are but pictures". Here she is saying that to look at a body and distinguish the difference between dead and alive is near impossible. We know this is not true, but that is the point of the comment because Lady Macbeth is patronising Macbeth to try and persuade him to return to Duncan's bed chambers and so to "smear the sleepy grooms with blood." Again we can see a connection between sleep and blood. She needs to instil some confidence in the ever growing guilty mind of Macbeth. Macbeth's ever growing guilty mind hears the words: "Sleep no more! Macbeth doth murder sleep." This could be his conscience crying out to him. It implies that he is to suffer from his guilt until the day of his death. ...read more.


The murder of Duncan sets off a chain reaction of other murders. Macbeth talks to Lady Macbeth about the murder he commissioned to kill Banquo and says: "It will have blood, they say; blood will have blood." Because when ever a hint is given towards Macbeth that someone has found out he is the assassin behind the murder of Duncan, he becomes paranoid and so decides that the only way out, as such, is to kill the person whom could release this information to those who can enforce punishment. As a lot of people become suspicious about this (like Banquo: mentioned earlier) a lot of murders take place thus giving Macbeth the label of Tyrant. Because Macbeth has to commission so many of these murders his guilt over time is severely weakened. Macbeth seems sorry to order his friend's death but, he doesn't have the guilt which he had in Act 2 scene 2: "It is concluded. Banquo, thy soul's flight, it might find heaven, must find it out tonight." On the other hand, Lady Macbeth's ignorance of guilt at the time seems to have caught her up and she is suffering her sleepwalks. This therefore means that since act 2 scene 2 Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have swapped courses and now Macbeth is ruthless and Lady Macbeth is riddled by her guilt. ...read more.

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