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 writing the play Macbeth, Shakespeare created an atmosphere around the characters and the overall setting of the play, with his use of massive amounts of imagery in Macbeth.
Lightness and darkness are major examples of Shakespeare’s use of imagery in Macbeth. Often while Lady Macbeth is walking around, a candle is referred to as floating above her, as if the soft glowing light will keep the darkness at bay while she commits her acts of violence. Lady Macbeth believes that the light will keep her from murdering Duncan. In the end, the candlelight is not Lady Macbeth’s savior and she commits suicide to escape the violent world that she has created around her with murder and mayhem. Macbeth acts like his wife’s death is just a blip in his plans for the future, and he goes further to compare her life and death to that of the flame of a candle, which is easily extinguished.
When something ‘bad’ or evil is about to happen, the night creeps upon the set to cover up the evil doings of the characters in the play. The evil that is being done to the characters are so dark that when the darkness comes it will cover up the sun at its brightest time of day, thus forcing the light away. Strange things that could not be explained started happening like when an owl attacked and killed an eagle and horses went wild and started eating each other. Lightning and thunder preceded terrible storms right before the witches would come on stage and act out their parts. The witches have a twisted sense of humor when they tell Macbeth and Banquo of the destined future, which is really the beginning of Macbeth's power hungry ascent.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth hallucinate numerous times before and after Duncan’s murder. The hallucinations are driving Macbeth mad and Lady Macbeth coddles her husband so that she may use him in her murderous plots. Macbeth exits Duncan’s room with blood on his hands and daggers.
“Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.”
The blood represents how guilt he feels before the murder and obviously afterward. Macbeth murdered his king’s intoxicated guards after Duncan to make sure he was not accused and trying to absolve himself of the guilt for the murders.
“Will all great Neptune’s ocean was this blood
Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red.”
Even when the blood is washed away with water, Macbeth is still heavily weighed...