Blood Imagery in Macbeth

Topics: Macbeth, King Duncan, Duncan I of Scotland Pages: 2 (868 words) Published: February 20, 2011
Shakespeare is legendary for his uses of symbolism. No other example is as evident as the bloody hands of Macbeth and his obsession with them. Macbeth has killed King Duncan and doesn’t stop there, he kills the guards making Duncan’s sons flee. This gives Macbeth the throne. However he becomes overwhelmed with the guilt. Shakespeare uses blood to show how it reminds Macbeth of the violent acts he has committed and how he has become obsessed with the blood on his hands. Initially the blood represents courage and bravery. For brave Macbeth-well he deserves that name- “disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel, which smoked with bloody execution, like valor’s minion carved out his passage"(Shakespeare 408). Banquo praises his defeat of the Macdonald’s army, however this representation of blood changes as the play. Once Macbeth kills King Duncan he walks out to his wife and enters a state of shock. He looks at his hands. "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?" (Shakespeare 430-431) This passage illustrates the act of murder has changed Macbeth’s character. No longer does the blood connote an image of ambition, it now symbolizes guilt, remorse, and an entry into the gates of hell from which no one can return. (Jordan) Macbeth then becomes a self-destructing machine. The witches’ predictions and his ambitions destroy a man who was once a moral human being. The tragedy continues Macbeth’s fall to evil. He commits more murder and finally takes the life of his once best friend, Banquo. These violent acts return the reader to remember the bloody hands that Macbeth felt could never be washed away. Macbeth remained that nothing could ever change the sin the he had committed. "No, this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red" (Shakespeare 431). Macbeth came to the realization that he would never be forgiven thus he did whatever he had to do to remain at the top. The end of Macbeth is the ultimate...
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