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 play about an ambitious thane, named Macbeth, and his wife whose flaws lead to their demise. Since Macbeth is a tragedy, probably nothing else would be as suitable for the play than darkness imagery.
Imagery is a very important aspect of literature. Many different types of imagery exist and there is at least one dramatic purpose for each image. By analyzing William Shakespeare's Macbeth, it is evident that darkness imagery is used for three dramatic purposes. Those three purposes are to create atmosphere, to arouse the emotions of the audience and to contribute to the major theme of the play.
The darkness imagery in Macbeth contributes to its ominous atmosphere. In the very beginning of the play the three witches are talking and the first witch says, "When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?" This is a good example of darkness imagery because when thinking about the crashing thunder, lightning, and rain, thoughts of ominous things are brought forth. Later on, the Sergeant is talking with Duncan and Malcolm when he states, "Ship wrecking storms and direful thunders break." Again this darkness imagery contributes to the ominous atmosphere of the play, having reference to thunder and dark storms. Finally, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are talking in the scene just before the murder of Banquo and Macbeth says, "Light thickens, and the crow makes wing to the rooky wood: Good things of day begin to droop and drowse, whiles night's black agents to their preys do rouse." This example of darkness imagery is saying that the day is turning into night, all the good things are going to sleep, and the evil creatures are coming out. The evil in this previous quotation and the two before adds to the ominous atmosphere. Since the imagery creates an ominous atmosphere it would then lead to the second dramatic purpose, to arouse the emotions of the audience.
Darkness imagery is a very good tool for arousing the emotions of the audience. It enables people to create a mental picture of what they are reading. For example, Duncan and Macbeth were talking when Macbeth says aside, "Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires." When words like "black" and...