In literature as in life, blood is not only in the body, but symbolizes many other things. The play, Macbeth, by William Shakespeare describes the life of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and how they become ruthless killers. They are determined to get power and will not stop until Macbeth and his sons are kings. Throughout the Macbeth by Shakespeare, blood is a prominent symbol and represents murder, guilt, and the difference between characters. Blood represents murder when Macbeth returns from war and when Duncan’s guards are killed. Also, blood represents the guilt of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth after the murder of Duncan. Moreover, the difference between Duncan and Lady Macbeth is represented by blood. Altogether, blood symbolizes murder, guilt, and different characters in Macbeth.
First, blood represents murder in several parts of the play. Towards the beginning of the play, Macbeth returns from his heroic battle against ...view middle of the document...
This is a second example of when Shakespeare uses blood to symbolize murder. Overall, the murders of Macdonwald and the King’s guards are represented by blood.
Furthermore, blood represents guilt throughout the play. After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth becomes paranoid and feels guilty. Macbeth feels the effects of the guilt and says, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?” (2.2.78-79). The blood that is on Macbeth’s hand symbolizes his sin and the guilt that he cannot wash away. Even the god of the ocean will not be able to get enough water to wash away the blood and guilt. Additionally, Lady Macbeth is experiencing just as much guilt as Macbeth. Later in the play, she is sleepwalking and a doctor hears her say, “Out, damned spot! Out, I say! One, two ... Yet who would have thought the old man / to have had so much blood in him” (5.1.37-42). This is another example of how blood represents guilt after the murder. Also, Lady Macbeth did not expect to feel so guilty and for Duncan to have this much blood, or guilt that follows her. All in all, blood is used to symbolize guilt in the play.
Finally, blood is used to symbolize different characters in the play. When Lady Macbeth is attempting to gather strength to carry out the murder she describes her blood. During her soliloquy, she says, “And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty. Make thick my blood” (1.5.49-50). These lines show that the blood is a symbol of Lady Macbeth being evil. She desires to be cruel and to feel no remorse for the murder. Compared to Lady Macbeth, King Duncan’s blood is described extremely differently. While Macbeth is describing his reasoning for killing the guards, he says, “Here lay Duncan, / His silver skin laced with his golden blood” (2.3.130-131). Duncan’s blood is golden. This represents the good and kindness of Duncan. Lady Macbeth’s blood and Duncan’s blood are complete opposites and so are their characters. In conclusion, blood is used to symbolize characters, especially Lady Macbeth and Duncan, in the play.
To summarize, blood is used as a symbol for murder, guilt, and characters. As shown above, blood can be much more than just part of the body.