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Macbeth Imagery Essay

769 words - 4 pages

Through the use of blood imagery in Macbeth, Shakespeare is able to characterize the character of Macbeth. As Macbeth commits numerous crimes and despicable acts throughout the play, his character transforms from a guilt ridden thane who adores his kind and risks his life to protect him and his country, into a savage, murderous king encouraged by greed and madness.
Shakespeare’s use of blood imagery builds the initial characterization of Macbeth in Act I as having an ability to display and feel guilt and his hesitance to commit treason with this quote, “We still have judgment here, that we but teach bloody instructions, which, being taught, return to plague the inventor” (Shakespeare 39). This quote is important to Macbeth’s characterization because he is able to think about Duncan’s murder rationally at this point. He attempts to show Lady Macbeth the consequences of their actions, to no avail. Even though they still commit the murder, this quote demonstrates that at this time in the play, Macbeth is still able to feel guilt over it. Macbeth’s characterization can also be shown in this Act with this quote: “First, as I am his kinsman and his subject (Strong both against the deed), then, as his host, who should against his murderer shut the door, not bear the knife myself” (Shakespeare 39). This quote shows that Macbeth is against killing the king because it is his responsibility to protect the king from possible threats, instead of be the threat himself.
Macbeth is further characterized in Act II through blood imagery by showing how Macbeth’s guilt has affected him and also displaying the intensity of the crime he committed. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green ones red” (Shakespeare 55). This quote characterizes Macbeth during Act II because he comes to terms with the treasonous act he has committed and he is able to realize the gravity of the situation. During this act of the play, the audience begins to see Macbeth transitioning into a man fueled by pure ambition and greed. Macbeth’s true self is shown in...

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