This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Symbolism That Represents The Theme Of Corruption In Shakespeare's Mac Beth

1034 words - 4 pages

Symbolism in MacBeth
Symbolism plays an important role to emphasize the theme of corruption of power in William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Throughout the play there are several main symbols repeatedly used to emphasize this theme. The contrast of light and dark representing good and evil, blood representing guilt, murder, and pain, and the archetypal pattern of purification by using water represents removal of guilt, cleansing and peace. Symbolism is used repeatedly to emphasize the theme of corruption of power.

Blood is an important image and plays out through Macbeth. The murders that Macbeth had committed are represented by the blood, the guilt that went along with the murders and the pain that it brought on him during his downfall. The soldier describes the violence and bloodshed, in the war between Scotland and Norway, "Except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds." (pg. 3) warns of the violent nature of the play filled with murder, guilt and pain. Blood in the murder of King Duncan also plays a major role because it represents Macbeth's guilt as well as his shame for slaying King Duncan. Macbeth observes his blood stained hands and remarks "As they had seen me with these hangman's hands." (pg. 27) This reveals his guilt and shame because he is comparing his hands to those of an executioner's. After the murder, Macbeth refuses to return back to the bed chamber of King Duncan to smear the blood on the sleeping guards, because he is afraid that the blood will incriminate him further. Lady Macbeth smearing the blood onto the guards represents them trying to rub their guilt off onto the guard. "I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal, for it must seem their guilt" (pg. 28) but this proves to be ineffective because Macbeth ends up murdering the guards, and regaining the guilt. Macbeth is uncomfortable with the blood on his hands and he tries to remove it immediately after the murder with water. When Macbeth says, "I am in blood, stepp'd in so far, that I should wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o'er…" (pg. 57) this symbolizes that the guilt Macbeth feels and compares it to swimming in blood, but he has already reached the point of no return. As Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking and attempting to clear her conscience, she says, "Here's the smell of blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand…" (pg. 84) This symbolizes that nothing can remove the guilt and pain of the murders that she and Macbeth have committed. This thus establishes blood as a representative for murders which Macbeth had committed, the guilt that consumed him, and the pain of his downfall which is used to emphasize the theme of corruption of power.

As a contrast to blood, the archetypal pattern of purification by water in the play was very significant. The water symbolized purification, the removal of guilt, and cleanliness. After the murder of King Duncan, Lady Macbeth tries to reassure Macbeth by saying, "A little water clears us of...

Find Another Essay On Symbolism that Represents the Theme of Corruption in Shakespeare's MacBeth

William Shakespeare's Repeated Reference to Blood to Establish the Theme of Power of Evil in Macbeth

3536 words - 14 pages William Shakespeare's Repeated Reference to Blood to Establish the Theme of Power of Evil in Macbeth "Enter Macbeth, with two bloody daggers" For me, this stage direction from William Shakespeare's Macbeth was very effective as it portrayed the power of evil to destroy. Throughout Macbeth, Shakespeare used many references to blood to capture the attention of the audience. The repeated reference to blood was very

The Theme of Revenge in Shakespeare's Macbeth - English Lit 1 - Essay

1657 words - 7 pages in his own hands, or was that fate in the hands of the witches who predicted (or caused) his future to happen? Shakespeare doesn't really answer this question, and perhaps it is a moot point since Macduff was unlikely to be forgiving in any case. The theme of revenge was woven into Macbeth from beginning to end, and reaches its final climax when Macduff slays Macbeth. This killing represents the end of a lengthy struggle not only for power

Theme of Social Hierarchy in William Shakespeare's Henry V, Twelfth Night and Macbeth

1678 words - 7 pages Theme of Social Hierarchy in William Shakespeare's Henry V, Twelfth Night and Macbeth Henry V, Twelfth Night, and Macbeth cover the whole field of Shakespearean genres, but it is amazing how Shakespeare displays a theme and carries it through in any kind of play he wants to. Historic, comic, and tragic plays are about as different as you can get, yet when we take a closer look we see many similarities among them, especially in the area of

evilmac Shakespeare's Macbeth - Theme of Night vs Day and Evilness

594 words - 2 pages Macbeth: Theme of Night vs Day and Evilness             “Fair is foul, and foul is fair” (I.i.10).  This becomes the key phrase in describing Macbeth's downfall.  It defines the night vs. day motif, foreshadowing the evil that will soon come.  The night vs. day motif is so important in bringing out the theme of evil in this play because almost all of the elements of Macbeth's

Influences That Lead to Macbeth's Downfall in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

3790 words - 15 pages Influences That Lead to Macbeth's Downfall in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Macbeth is a play written by the famous playwright, William Shakespeare. The play was started around 1603 but was only finished in 1606. The play is a tragedy and is one of the darkest of Shakespeare's plays ever written. The play was originally written for King James I when he came to the throne of England after Elizabeth had died. Banquo, one

This Essay Examines The Idea Of Fate In Shakespeare's Play Macbeth, And Attempts To Show That The Characters Acted Of Their Own Free Will, Not Due To The Wishes Of Some Higher Being

835 words - 4 pages masterdom.( this Macbeth replies only, "We will speak further." ( It is clear that he has made the decision to kill Duncan, whether or not he is prepared to admit it to himself or anyone else yet.The witches, like Macbeth, were not simply pawns. They were fully autonomous beings that made their own choices and in doing so, showed Macbeth one possible future. The knowledge of what may come was voluntarily shared, and they

Wm. Shakespeare's "Macbeth" Essay title - "All That Bleeds Is Not Dead"

757 words - 3 pages Write a paper in which you clearly discuss the contribution of one of the motifs in Macbeth. Your essay must demonstrate how a particular motif contributes to the general theme of the play - the destructtive effects of unchecked ambition. Remember, this is an anylitical essay. Retelling the story does not constitute an anylisis. Please do not consult any secondary sources for this assignment.Red blood cells are the most important cells in the

The character of Macbeth in Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

1131 words - 5 pages interested in what the witches have to say, but he does not really believe them. A few minutes later, Ross enters. He tells Macbeth that the thane of Cawdor is in line for death and that Duncan has named Macbeth the new thane of Cawdor. Now, Macbeth is absolutely shocked. The witches prophecy has come true! He can not believe it! But now Macbeth has a lot more on his mind; the third prophecy about becoming the King. Macbeth knows that if something were

The Downfall Of Macbeth In Shakespeare's Macbeth

1771 words - 8 pages People and decisions can greatly affect the outcome of a person's life determining whether the outcome will be successful or disastrous. In the Shakespeare play of Macbeth, there are two factors that contributed to Macbeth's ruin. One of them being more to blame: The influential character of Lady Macbeth displaying temptation towards Macbeth, or Macbeth's own ambitious and insecure nature. There are questions whether Macbeth's downfall might

The Symbolism of Blood in Macbeth

1024 words - 4 pages guilt that will haunt the Macbeths for the duration of their lives. Blood’s ubiquitous symbolism emphasizes the constant guilt felt by the Macbeths in their tragic pursuit of the monarchy. The symbolism of blood prior to, and immediately following Duncan’s murder amplifies the magnitude of Macbeth’s treachery. Following the prophecy of the witches, Macbeth contemplates the possible effects of murdering Duncan in order to gain the crown. Macbeth

Macbeth - "Shakespeare's plays tell great stories that still have relevance. How does Shakespeare use dramatic techniques to achieve this?

837 words - 3 pages Macbeth's reply literally, Duncan did "plan" to leave the castle the next day; there is no lie to be found in that.Another example that demonstrates Shakespeare's use of dramatic irony is the Porter scene in Act 2 Scene 3. "If a man were porter of hell-gate, he should have old turning the key..." After the king's murder is discovered, it is almost comedic the way Lady Macbeth responds to the announcement of King Duncan's murder. First she enters in

Similar Essays

Corruption Of Unchecked Ambition In Shakespeare's Macbeth

1284 words - 5 pages The Corrupting Power of Unchecked Ambition The main theme of Macbeth-the destruction wrought when ambition goes unchecked by moral constraints-finds its most powerful expression in the play's two main characters. Macbeth is a courageous Scottish general who is not naturally inclined to commit evil deeds, yet he deeply desires power and advancement. He kills Duncan against his better judgment and afterward stews in guilt and paranoia. Toward

Corruption Of Power In Shakespeare's Macbeth

2370 words - 9 pages Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most famous tragic plays. It is considered a tragedy because the main character has a tragic flaw, and this is the cause of his downfall. One major reason for his downfall is how corrupted he becomes due to the power he has. Shakespeare utilizes the aspect of corruption of power in Macbeth. William Shakespeare was born April 23, 1564. Ironically, it is on the same date, just 52 years later that he dies. William

Exploring The Actions Of Macbeth That Backfired In Shakespeare's Macbeth

764 words - 3 pages story since he could've gotten away with King Duncan's murder if he didn't commit it. The third action that backfired on Macbeth was when he ordered the murderers to murder Banquo and Fleance at which they failed to eliminate Fleance. The murder that he committed was a necessity for Macbeth in order to secure his spot as king. That murder was the killing of the king which he had to do since Duncan named his son, Malcolm as Prince of Cumberland

The Witches In Macbeth: Corruption And Fate Vs. Free Will In William Shakespeare's "Macbeth"

867 words - 3 pages when suppressed with guilt. Further influencing more deaths is the power of guilt and corruption that plagues both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. In William Shakespeare's Macbeth, witches symbolize characters' imaginary tools to represent the power of corruption, and the inner demonic conscience of man.In "Macbeth", the characters struggle with the prophecies and free will vs. fate. Shakespeare makes the true nature of these prophecies unknown to the