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Macbeth And The Symbol Of Blood

809 words - 3 pages

Macbeth EssayI am going to prove that in the play Macbeth, a symbol ofblood is portrayed often(and with different meanings), and thatit is a symbol that is developed until it is the dominating themeof the play towards the end of it.To begin with, I found the word 'blood', or different formsof it forty-two times (ironically, the word fear is usedforty-two times), with several other passages dealing with thesymbol. Perhaps the best way to show how the symbol of bloodchanges throughout the play, is to follow the character changesin Macbeth. First he is a brave honoured soldier, but as theplay progresses, he becomes a treacherous person who has becomeidentified with death and bloodshed and shows his guilt indifferent forms.The first reference of blood is one of honour, and occurswhen Duncan sees the injured sergeant and says 'What bloody manis that?'. This is symbolic of the brave fighter who beeninjured in a valiant battle for his country. In the nextpassage, in which the sergeant says 'Which smok'd with bloodyexecution', he is referring to Macbeth's braveness in which hissword is covered in the hot blood of the enemy.After these few references to honour, the symbol of bloodnow changes to show a theme of treachery and treason. LadyMacbeth starts this off when she asks the spirits to 'make thickmy blood,'. What she is saying by this, is that she wants tomake herself insensitive and remorseless for the deeds which sheis about to commit. Lady Macbeth knows that the evidence ofblood is a treacherous symbol, and knows it will deflect theguilt from her and Macbeth to the servants when she says 'smearthe sleepy grooms with blood.', and 'If he do bleed, I'll gildthe faces of the grooms withal, for it must seem their guilt.'When Banquo states 'and question this most bloody piece of work,'and Ross says 'is't known who did this more than bloody deed?',they are both inquiring as to who performed the treacherous actsupon Duncan. When Macbeth is speaking about Malcolm andDonalbain, he refers to them as 'bloody cousins'A final way, and perhaps the most vivid use of the symbolblood, is of the theme of guilt. First Macbeth hints at hisguilt when he says 'Will all great Neptune's ocean wash thisblood clean from my hand?', meaning that he wondered if he wouldever be able to forget the dastardly deed that he had...

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