Use Of Blood In Shakespeare's Macbeth

984 words - 4 pages

Use of Blood in Macbeth  

     In the play ‘Macbeth’, Shakespeare uses brutal imagery, with association of blood.  The mood of disgust and horror towards the characters and setting is established by the references to the universal representation of death and pain. The first mention of blood seems to establish a sense of honor. The second mention of blood seems to communicate betrayal.  Lastly the third allusion of blood appears to establish a sense of guilt All of these images of blood help develop the atmosphere and scene and contribute to the over all drama of the play.

The use of the word ‘blood’ contains the recoiling images of horror and disgust that are associated with it. However within the play ‘Macbeth’, blood is also associated with  other images and feelings as well as horror and disgust. The first reference to blood is that of honor. The Bloody Sergeant enters the scene and is addressed by Malcolm,


‘This is sergeant

Who like a good and hardy soldier fought

'Gainst my captivity. Hail brave friend!

Say to the king the knowledge of the broil

As thou didst leave it.(I;ii;3-7)’


This extract alludes to Macbeth's actions and heroic deeds. Below we can see the way in which the Sergeant continues to describe Macbeth in battle as well,


‘For brave Macbeth- well he deserves that name-

Disdaining fortune with his brandish steel,

Which smoked with bloody execution,(I;ii;16-18)’


The use of the phrase ‘he deserves that name’ effectively demonstrates Macbeth’s recognition held by other people.  Macbeth fights for both the honor of himself and his king. The image of a sword that is "smoked" with blood shows that Macbeth bravely was very successful in battle. The blood on his sword represents all the people he bravely killed in battle for the protection of his king. Macbeth was also "disdaining fortune", he believed that he would not die unless fate decided he should. So in battle he fought to his full potential and was not afraid of death.


The second representation of blood as aforementioned, is that of betrayal. Lady Macbeth initiates this theme when she utters the words, "make thick my blood", before helping to frame the guards for the murder of Duncan.  The notion of making ones blood thick attempts to communicate how Lady Macbeth wants to become remorseless and insensitive.  However the irony is established since she also feels guilty and trepidation for the crime of treason she is about to commit.  Lady Macbeth understands that the symbolic of use of blood is treacherous and if she places Duncan's blood on the guards the blame will be diverted from Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. We are told this by the following lines, "smear the sleepy grooms with blood. If he do bleed, I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal, for it must seem their guilt." Lady...

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