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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 tell us truths, /win us with honest trifles, to betray us in deepest consequence (I.ii.131-135).

 

     Banquo shows he is immediately aware that the witches are associated with darkness. He chooses not to act on the witches' prophecies, but to be wary and reluctant.  He is not ready to involve himself with the witches, since he sees them as a dark force.  However, Macbeth is on opportunist and the image of darkness reveals his deepest, darkest desires.  This is shown in Macbeth's aside,

 

The Prince of Cumberland!  that is a step/ On which I must fall down or else o'ver-leap, / For in my way it lies.  Stars, hide your fires;/ Let not light see my black and deep desires" (I.iv.55-58).

 

     It becomes apparent that it bothered Macbeth a great deal to hear that Malcolm was named successor to King Duncan.  In response, Macbeth calls on darkness to hide his evil thoughts.  Lady Macbeth also conjures up the forces of darkness to ensure the heavens don't see her having these thoughts,

 

Come, thick night, /And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, /That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, / N'or heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, /To cry, "Hold, hold" (I.v.53-57!

 

     By the end of Act I, we can see that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have sided with "darkness". By listening to the prompting of the witches, the Macbeths have given in and sided with the forces of evil. But, Banquo, is still wary about the idea of evil and darkness.  He demonstrates that the witches are only telling partial truths, truths that look good at first, but will hurt in the end.  This portrays the theme of evil and how it has the same effect as the witches' prophecies.  Evil puts on a pretty face to be very tempting, but it will definitely bring one down in the end.

 

     Another strong image in the play is "blood".  It is perhaps the most powerful image of Macbeth's character change.  One such image is portrayed just before Macbeth visits the witches for the second time.  He says to his wife, Lady Macbeth,

 

For mine own good/All causes shall give away; I am in blood/Stepp'd in so for, that, should I wade no more, /Returning were as tedious as go o'er  (III.iv.166-169).

 

     This clearly illustrates that Macbeth is no longer concerned with who is in his way as long as he...

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