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Imagery in Macbeth

By | November 2006
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Imagery in Macbeth

In Macbeth, William Shakespeare uses many images to represent the feelings of the characters and to foreshadow the outcome of the play in connection with the theme and conflicts. In any literary work, it is extremely important for an author to effectively influence a reader's emotions and feelings. In Macbeth, that feat is accomplished by Shakespeare. Through his skillful use of imagery, Shakespeare shows us a deeper look into the true character of Macbeth and the tragic role he plays in his environment. Though imagery is widespread throughout Macbeth, it is most dominant in animal imagery, blood imagery, and plant imagery. Through these images, Shakespeare demonstrates the development of Macbeth's character as well as the theme and outcome of the play. The theme is related to fate in connection with the disruption of natural order. Animal imagery plays a pivotal role in Macbeth. Shakespeare uses it for three main reasons: to foreshadow, to show emotions, and to contribute to the theme. The first animal that is introduced is the raven. "The raven himself is hoarse/ that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements" (1.5; 36-38). Here Lady Macbeth had received word from the messenger of Macbeth that he was Thane of Cawdor and would become king of Scotland by the three witch's predictions. Here is also were Lady

Macbeth decides that killing Duncan would be necessary to make the witches prophecies come true. Therefore, the raven is used to represent the death and destruction that will result in Duncan's demise. This was one example that was used to show how animal imagery foreshadowed future events. Another example is the scorpions, which were used to show Macbeths emotions. Macbeth stated "O, full of scorpions is my mind, dear wife" as his mind was beginning to become poisoned and paranoid over his actions (3.2; 35). He was becoming excessively overwhelmed during this time, so consequently his wrong-doings began to catch up...

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