False Appearances In Macbeth Essay

933 words - 4 pages

Darkness, fear, mayhem, guilt and hypocrisy are all important themes which are carried throughout the play. The use of imagery in reference to blood, light versus dark, false appearance and disease reinforce these themes. The imagery appears to tiptoe through every scene to create a malevolent atmosphere of shame and false pretence.

One of the key themes in the play that was reinforced and highlighted by the use of imagery was false appearance. The use of imagery to portray false appearance can be seen when Lady Macbeth tells Macbeth to "...look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it." Also, this portrayal of false appearance can be seen after the murder of Duncan, when Donalbain states that “There are daggers in men’s smiles." This use of imagery communicates the aspect of false appearance and can be witnessed again when Macbeth states that "..The face shall be vizards to our hearts."

There is a key moment when appearance and reality become one for Macbeth. This occurs when Macbeth has committed many murders and states that "From now on, the very firstlings of my heart shall be the very firstlings of my hand." This use of recurring imagery helps reinforce this key aspect of appearance versus reality.

Another aspect which is highlighted and reinforced with the use of imagery is the theme of light and darkness. The witches are described by Banquo as "instruments of darkness" and "secret, black and midnight hags." This imagery clearly shows the darkness in the play as the witches recur throughout it. One more main recurring image is one of a blanket of darkness that appears to "entomb" the Earth "when living light should kiss it." But, just as darkness is associated with evil, light is linked with good. We see this light at the end of Act four when Malcolm looks forward to the end of Macbeth's dark night of tyranny; "The night is long that never finds the day."

This night of tyranny and corruption is symbolised by the imagery of disease and sickness. As seen with Lady Macbeth's mental illness when the doctor states that "...this disease is beyond my practise." Here he could be referring to the state of the country as well as the evil deeds committed by the Macbeths'. In act five Macbeth wishes that the doctor could have the power to restore his country back to having "pristine health". This is ironic because it seems that he is unaware that he is the disease of the land. This imagery highlights the theme of corrupt kingship in the play.

Kingship is often linked with blood in Macbeth's role throughout the play. The use of bloody imagery occurs over fifty times in the play. Thus,...

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