Major Themes Expressed Through Imagery In Shakespeare's 'macbeth'.

1230 words - 5 pages

In Shakespeare's Macbeth, major themes are shown through imagery. Recurring images such as sleep, blood, animals, light and darkness are used to conjure up vivid mental images in audience's imagination and to reveal the characters' emotions. The images also help in characterisation and make the reader more interested in the story. But just as importantly, these images are also used to show the audience the main themes of the play.In Macbeth, light and darkness imagery show the theme, good verses evil and is used numerous times in the play. The audience can see that Macbeth becomes more evil as the play progresses. This change can also be seen through how he reacts to darkness. Before the murder of Duncan, Macbeth says, "Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires" (Shakespeare, Macbeth 1.4.51-52). Later on in the novel, when he plans to kill Banquo and Fleance he welcomes the darkness so that the murder can take place: "Come seeling night, scarf up the tender eye of pitiful day" (3.2.46-47). The growing evil in Macbeth can be seen through his acceptance of the darkness. There are also parts in the play when the witches who personify evil are described as being creatures of the night. Macbeth describes them as "secret, black, midnight hags" (4.1.47) and "instruments of darkness" (1.3.122). After the murder of Duncan, Ross and the Old Man talk about how the night "strangle[d] the travelling lamp" (2.4.7). Evil is prevailing over good after the death of Duncan. Later on in the play, when Macbeth asks Lady Macbeth what time it is, she replies that the night is "almost at odds with morning" (3.4.126). Both examples are ways that Shakespeare shows the conflict between good and evil. Darkness is linked with death as well. On the night of the murder of Duncan, Banquo and Fleance observed that "the moon is down" and that "there's husbandry in heaven, all the candles are out". Banquo's murder also occurred at night. The light and dark imagery foreshadow events. The audience can sense that something evil will occur when the characters speak of darkness or when the scene is set at night-time. Because the audience knows something evil is going to happen, the scene's suspense builds up. The reader will also wonder about whether good will ever prevail against evil and become more interested in the plot. The light and dark imagery give the audience a clear picture of the conflict between good and evil, which captivates the audience.Blood imagery shows the important theme of guilt. When Lady Macbeth and Macbeth murder Duncan, they have a discussion about blood. Macbeth sees his bloody hands and wonders if "all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous sea incarnate, making the green one red" (2.2.60-63). This shows his strong feelings of his guilty conscience. Lady Macbeth responds by saying that "A little water clears us of this deed" (2.2.77). Ironically, near the end of the...

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