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 many different elements in the play. First and foremost, darkness is related to sleep; sleep implies both night, a time of darkness, and a personal darkness when one's eyes are closed.
The first scene which alludes to darkness is Act I, Scene II where the bloody sergeant has just returned from the battle with Macbeth against Macdonwald. He states, "Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break." This simple phrase not only foreshadows the storm that is to come, but it is in contrast to the current events where Macbeth has heroically defeated Macdonwald and the Thane of Cowder. It seems that even in this time of success for Macbeth there is still a future doom, or darkness, that awaits him. Shakespeare believes that this fate is what awaits everyone, "Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player, / That struts and frets his hour upon the stage / And then is heard no more." Macbeth, as a flawed human being who is a poor player on the stage of life, is doomed by his actions to an early darkness.
The murder of Duncan during Act II of Macbeth contains many references to the darkness that now surrounds Macbeth and his kingdom. This is partially a result of the way Shakespeare relates sleep to death and darkness. After Macbeth murdered the sleeping Duncan, he heard a voice that said, "Sleep no more! / Macbeth does murder sleep." This shows that since...