This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Imagery And Symbolism In "Macbeth" Essay

2202 words - 9 pages

Shakespeare uses imagery and symbolism to weave an intriguing web of darkness and evil that captivates the audience throughout the play, "Macbeth." Two important symbols are darkness and blood. Combined with violent weather and witches, they help to weave an eerie tale of murder plotted by Lady Macbeth and eventually embraced and executed by Macbeth.

Dark and stormy nights often set the scene, and they become analogous with the happening of evil deeds. Intertwined with dark, stormy nights is the appearance of witches and the powerful symbol of blood. Although blood was first a symbol of honor and bravery, it morphed into an inescapable guilt of their crimes for Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. The darkness that veils their murderous deeds and the blood that doesn't wash away turn into forces of evil that ultimately plague and destroy them.

"Macbeth" begins with the witches, three haggard old women, appearing in thunder and lighting which, in those times, conjured up superstitions of unrest and creatures of darkness. They chant in eerie tones and indicate that their next meeting will be on the hearth "ere the setting sun" to confront Macbeth. (Shakespeare, (I., i.) They continue chanting, "fair is foul, and foul is fair," (Shakespeare, I.,i) indicating that moral order will change and lead to confusion. The witches may allude to a fair thing, but it has a hidden meaning that is foul. Good is evil, and evil is good. [not a quote] (Shakespeare, I.,i) ; the witches are evil and love evil. They vanish the scene as quickly as they had appeared.

In a raging war between the royal army and rebels, Macbeth is hailed as heroic and brave. Blood is seen as a symbol of courage and valor for Macbeth who fights valiantly on the bloody battlefield. This vision of bravery is poignant as it is delivered by a bloody sergeant weakened by his own loss of blood during battle. The Thane of Cawdor, on the other hand, is found to be disloyal. This prompts Duncan to execute The Thane of Cawdor and plan to bestow Macbeth with that title.
ACT I
Indeed the witches appear a second time in darkness and rolling thunder. bearing a veiled prophecy that Macbeth will become king. They convey to Macbeth and Banquo that Macbeth will be Thane of Cawdor and ultimately king. They also prophecy that Banquo's descendants will be king, but Banquo never will. The witches vanish leaving Banquo and Macbeth perplexed, but word soon comes that Macbeth has been made Thane of Cawdor. Since this affirms the witches first prophecy, Macbeth has visions of grandeur as he contemplates the possibility of being king. These visions are abruptly interrupted when he learns that Duncan has named his son, Malcolm, as successor. After conflicting thoughts, darkness washes over Macbeth as he contemplates the evil deeds needed to become king. Realizing that he must take charge of his own fate by murdering Duncan, Macbeth thinks, “Stars, hide your fires, let not light see my black and...

Find Another Essay On Imagery and Symbolism in "Macbeth"

Images and Imagery in Macbeth Essay

1028 words - 4 pages Imagery in Macbeth       Darkness, disorder, mayhem, fear, guilt, and hypocrisy are all important themes carried throughout William Shakespeare's "Macbeth" by the effective use of imagery in reference to ill-fitting clothing, blood, and light verses dark. Imagery in this play tiptoes its way though every scene to create a malevolent atmosphere of shame and false pretenses.   The contrast between light and dark during

Images and Imagery in Macbeth Essay

1512 words - 6 pages Imagery in Macbeth      Shakespeare uses a variety of techniques in order to add depth and the underlying subtext within his plays. 'Macbeth' is no exception, he uses the stark imagery of clothing, the sickening physicality of blood and the concept of darkness to communicate a number of themes.  In turn this conveys important symbols that can be found within the play.   Within 'Macbeth' the imagery of clothing portrays how Macbeth

Images and Imagery in Macbeth

3138 words - 13 pages simply from this point of view - aptly describes the cumulative effect of the imagery: "The contrast between light and darkness is part of a general antithesis between good and evil, devils and angels, evil and grace, hell and heaven . . . and the disease images of IV, iii and in the last act clearly reflect both the evil which is a disease, and Macbeth himself who is the disease from which his country suffers."(67-68) Roger Warren comments in

Imagery and Symbolism in Jane Eyre

814 words - 3 pages Jane EyreImagery and SymbolismImagery and symbolism are an author's tools that can make or break how a novel is defined. The use of these tools can imply things, suggest things or just plain make the reader think about connections. Imagery and symbolism are needed to reiterate points and establish a story line in books. The use of symbolism and imagery is illustrated in the book Jane Eyre using a number of different references.One of the main

Images and Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth

975 words - 4 pages Imagery in Macbeth      In Shakespeare's tragic play, Macbeth, the use of imagery is connected with character development as well as theme throughout the play.            From the beginning of the play the image of darkness is introduced.  Darkness was called upon by Banquo, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.  Banquo, in his aside to Macbeth says,   But tis strange and oftentimes, to win us to our harm, /the instruments of

Darkness Imagery In Macbeth

901 words - 4 pages 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

Imagery in Macbeth

946 words - 4 pages In the tragedy Macbeth, by William Shakespeare vivid imagery heavily employing blood is utilized to convey messages and display the state of mind of the characters. The image of blood serves to show the literal and figurative blood on the hands of Macbeth and his wife, and shows their deteriorating mental state as the gravity of what they have done takes them over. Before the murder of King Duncan, Lady Macbeth says “make thick my blood; / Stop

Blood Imagery in Macbeth

1822 words - 8 pages the murders become more frequent. William Shakespeare, the author of Macbeth, uses blood imagery to develop Macbeth’s character, create a foil in between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and to symbolize honor and guilt. Blood imagery serves as a device to develop Macbeth’s character throughout the play. At the beginning of the play, Macbeth is an honorable man who is brave,courageous, and righteous. However, after Macbeth hears the prophecies of the

Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth

1091 words - 4 pages What is imagery? How does Shakespeare use imagery in Macbeth and his other plays? Imagery is when the audience uses their five senses while reading to create an image of what is being read in their head. Shakespeare uses imagery in the Tragedy of Macbeth and his other plays because it helps to connect the reader or audience to the characters of the play. Imagery draws a reader in and makes him experience or become a part of the character. When

Blood Imagery In Macbeth

601 words - 2 pages In Shakespeare's Macbeth a play, a man named Macbeth goes through a great transformation; Macbeth goes from being a heroic general in the king's army to an assassin and a tyrant. The theme of the play is never give into evil because it destroys no matter what the benefits are. Blood Imagery is very important in the play; it shows Macbeth's evil ambition in the beginning, middle, and end of the play. In the beginning of the play, blood imagery

Imagery in Macbeth

1421 words - 6 pages One thing every culture, religion, race, and country has in common is the blood that runs through its people’s veins. No one is a stranger to blood, and its universality allows many authors to utilize it as effective imagery in their literary works. British playwright William Shakespeare uses blood imagery in many of his plays, one prevalent example being Macbeth. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses blood imagery to symbolize guilt, foreshadow negative

Similar Essays

Symbolism And Imagery In Macbeth Essay

1316 words - 5 pages In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, symbolism and imagery are both widely used in illustrating the overall theme of murder. Throughout the play, Shakespeare depicts various types of symbolism and imagery that leads to the downfall of the protagonist, Macbeth. The contrast of light and dark representing good and evil plays a major role in the plot of the play. Blood symbolizes murder and guilt. The symbol of clothing is particularly used to suggest

Images, Imagery, Symbols, And Symbolism In Macbeth

679 words - 3 pages Imagery and Symbolism in Macbeth     In Macbeth, William Shakespeare uses extensive imagery and symbolism throughout the course of his play.  Shakespeare uses this imagery and symbolism so that the reader may gain a deeper understanding and feeling for the happenings of this tragedy.  This is further demonstrated by Shakespeare's use of darkness in Macbeth.  As one of the more noticeable and important symbols, darkness represents

Symbols, Symbolism, Images, And Imagery In Macbeth

868 words - 3 pages Imagery and Symbols in Macbeth       Shakespeare uses many forms of imagery in his plays.  Imagery, the art of making images, the products of imagination.  In the play Macbeth Shakespeare applies the imagery of clothing, darkness and blood.  Each detail in his imagery contains an important symbol of the play.  These symbols need to be understood in order to interpret the entire play. &nbsp

Symbolism And Imagery In 1984 Essay

1265 words - 5 pages 1984 is, without doubt, a very complex novel. The subjects tackled by Orwell in the novel are indeed complicated and dangerous. To get these across to the reader, Orwell often uses symbolism and imagery. In order to completely investigate this, it is necessary to look at the main characters, names, places and the various symbols that pop up throughout the novel. This will help to give a better understanding as to why and how Orwell uses