Lady Macbeth

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John Sandlas November 15, 2012

Blood: The Natural Paradox

Blood is what keeps man alive. It pumps through our veins and brings life to our bodies. It is also something that can ultimately bring man to his death. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses blood, and the various symbols of blood, many times. Blood is everywhere in Macbeth beginning with the opening battle between the Scots and the Norwegian invaders. "What bloody man is that?", King Duncan asks about a wounded sergeant. The sergeant then tells the story of Macbeth's heroic victories over Macdonwald and the King of Norway. The sergeant's telling of the story is in itself heroic, because he is extremely tired and fatigued from all his loss of blood. Thus the picture of his blood, and his heroism in telling the victories of Macbeth, seem to enhance the picture of Macbeth as a hero.

The role of blood continues in Act Two, Scene One. Just before Macbeth kills King Duncan, he sees a dagger floating in front of him. While he is looking at it, thick drops of blood appear on the blade. He says to the knife, "I see thee still, and on thy blade and dudgeon, gouts of blood which was not so before." When Macbeth realizes that he is just seeing a vision he says: "There's no such thing: It is the bloody business which informs thus to mine eyes". In this portion of the story the "bloody business" is the murder he's about to commit. Through the blood on the dagger, Macbeth realizes that if he wants to have possession of the throne he is going to have to kill King Duncan. Thus begins Macbeth's bloody journey.

The greatest symbolism of blood begins once Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have committed the murders of Duncan and his grooms. Blood now turns into a symbol of their guilt. "This is a sorry sight", says Macbeth, looking at his bloody hands moments after he has murdered King Duncan. His wife thinks that's a foolish thing to...
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