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Imagery In Macbeth Essay

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 up the access and passage to remorse” (1.v.43-44). Lady Macbeth is calling upon spirits to thicken her blood and poison it, so she can build up the strength to kill Duncan easily. She also says “My hands are of your color; but I shame / to wear a heart so white” (2.ii.61-62). In this quote, Lady Macbeth is talking to her husband saying that they both have blood on their hands now due to Duncan’s murder, but she would be ashamed to have a heart as cowardly as his. She then advises him to go wash his hands, which will get rid of the blood on them. This is very ironic when compared to the state of Lady Macbeth when she later goes mad. The image of blood is very prominent, and instrumental in the plot of Macbeth. Uses of blood like this are very frequent, and set the stage for what is to come and move things along. Shakespeare exhibits the deteriorating mental state of the main characters by repeatedly referring to images of blood.
As Macbeth toils and troubles himself about the task at hand, killing Duncan, Shakespeare uses images of blood in order to show how he is feeling about it. During Macbeth’s vision of the dagger suspended in midair he proclaims “And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, / Which was not so before” (2.i.46-47). All of a sudden the clean dagger floating in front of him was dripping blood, a foreshadowing of the horrendous act he had yet to commit. Macbeth’s soliloquy and the bloodying of the “dagger of the mind” he is speaking to show the uncertainty and inner conflict he has, which he ignores in order to carry out the task in a daze. He knows it is only a conjuring of his mind, however, he is very troubled and tortured by what he sees. When the dagger starts dripping blood, he is particularly antagonized. He is in a very sorry state, and it is the beginning of him losing his mind.
After the deed is done, Macbeth is plagued by what he did. He regrets is and it troubles him deeply for a while. This is exemplified when he announces, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?” (2.ii.58)....

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