2. How does Shakespeare's use of imagery and recurring symbols add depth and meaning to the plot and characters in the play?
In all of Shakespeare's plays he uses many forms of imagery. Imagery is the art of making images, the products of imagination. In the play 'Macbeth' Shakespeare applies the imagery of clothing, darkness and blood. Each detail is his imagery, seems to contain an important symbol of the play, symbols that the audience must understand if they are to interpret either a passage or the play as a whole.
Within the play 'Macbeth' the imagery of clothing portrays that Macbeth is seeking to hide his "disgraceful self" from his eyes and others. Shakespeare wants to keep alive the ironical contrast between the wretched creature that Macbeth really is and the disguises he assumes to conceal the fact. The audience thinks of the play honours as garments to be worn; likewise, Macbeth is constantly represented symbolically as the wearer of robes not belonging to him. In the following passage, the idea constantly recurs that Macbeth's new honours sit ill upon him, like loose and badly fitting garments, which are upon him but he is still surprised that he has gained this new position:
"New honours come upon him,
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould,
But with the aid of use."
(Act I, iii: 144)
The second form of imagery used to add to the atmosphere, the imagery of darkness. In a Shakespearean tragedy, the audience have known him to create a special tone, or atmosphere to show the darkness in a tragedy. In 'Macbeth', Shakespeare draws upon the design of the witches, the guilt in Macbeth's soul, and the darkness of the night to establish the atmosphere. All of the remarkable scenes take place at night or in some dark spot; for instance, the vision of the dagger, the murder of Duncan, the murder of Banquo, and Lady Macbeth's sleep walking. Darkness is the time when the traveller hastens to reach safety in... [continues]
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