“It will have blood: they say blood will have blood” (Mac. 3.4.149). These famous words are the words Macbeth speaks as he realizes that he is turning into a tyrant and murderer. William Shakespeare's play, Macbeth, shows an honorable, powerful general, thoroughly loyal to the king, as he metamorphoses into a merciless, paranoid king that kills anyone who might not respect him. His regicide slowly drives him insane. Shakespeare uses blood and animal imagery to show the rise and downfall of Macbeth, as a leader transforms from a distinguished, intelligent man to a sunken, spiritless humanoid.
Macbeth is described as lion and eagle in the beginning scene of the play because of his heroic deeds on the battlefield. Lions are thought of as kings, and the most powerful predator of the land. They are not known to be fearful, and they are thought to be a regal creature. Eagles are massive creatures of the sky, with little to fear. They are imperial birds that don’t back down when they are offered a fight. Macbeth is like both of these noble animals in his actions on the battlefield. His blade “smoked with bloody execution like valor's minion.” (Mac. 1.2.20-21). He led the army with such bravery and strength that King Duncan decides to promote him.
Despite their noble qualities, eagles and lions have a bad side as well. Eagles prefer to steal food than actually hunt for it, and lions fight amongst themselves, often for leadership. Macbeth has a noble start, like these animals, but on his way back from the battle, he met the three witches, who prophesied him to be king. This plants the seeds of evil, and Macbeth starts to change, demonstrating the dishonorable qualities of these animals. After meeting the witches, he thinks of killing King Duncan, and dismisses the thought, but the damage is done. He was turning evil.
Shakespeare introduces the raven is an animal that represents a dark, loathsome omen. When Duncan comes to stay the night at Macbeth’s castle, Lady Macbeth asserts, “The raven himself is hoarse/that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan/under my battlements” (Mac.1.5.38-40). Macbeth is the evil raven, which will deliver the death of Duncan at Macbeth’s own castle. Even before the assassination, Macbeth is turning from a noble eagle to an ominous raven.
The owl is a harbinger of death and doom. After Macbeth commits regicide, Lady Macbeth comments to herself, “It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman/Which gives the stern'st good night” (Mac.2.2.4-5). Afterwards, Lennox, a lord, before anyone besides the Macbeths know that King Duncan is dead, remarks to Macbeth, “The obscure bird/Clamor'd the livelong night. Some say the earth/was feverous and did shake” (Mac. 2.3.61-63). The owl's hoot is mentioned both times in the quotes as an evil thing, as devastating as an earthquake. We are informed that the deed is unnatural because an old man comments to Ross, “On Tuesday last/A falcon towering in her pride of place/Was by a mousing...