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.
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...