Light and Dark Imagery in Macbeth

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Light and Dark imagery in Macbeth
A tragedy play, written by William Shakespeare, is Macbeth. This play is filled with imageries of light and darkness. In the play Macbeth, Macbeth himself goes through a transformation in character. At the beginning of the play, he is noble and loyal, but in an effort to be crowned king, he is drowned by greed and darkness. His reign of terror, driven by insanity and ambition affects the natural order of the world and results in his death and the restoration of the natural order. The change in Macbeth’s character from a noble man to a dark figure is mirrored by the imagery of light and dark.

During the first three scenes of the first act, Macbeth is absent and is only described by other characters. As a soldier informs Duncan of Macbeth and Banquo’s performance on the battlefield, he says, “If I say sooth, I must report they were as cannons overcharged with double cracks” (I. ii, 40-41). This quote highlights Macbeth’s actions as a light character. Macbeth is portrayed to be a great man and soldier in fighting for his king. After being told of Macbeth’s role in the fighting near Forres, Duncan utters these praises, “O valiant cousin! Worthy gentleman!” (I. ii, 26). This is said in recognition of the outstanding fighting that Macbeth is doing for his king and country. Good is synonymous with images of light, therefore the good deeds of Macbeth are associated with light imagery. When Macbeth finally has a chance to respond to Duncan’s praises, he says, “The service and loyalty I owe, in doing it, pays itself.” (I. iv, 25-26). Macbeth explains to the king that he does not require anymore payment than he already receives, as even just the satisfaction of fighting for Duncan and his state is enough. Macbeth believes himself to be a truly loyal and noble man. At this point, Macbeth’s character is tied only to images of triumph, but this begins to change when Macbeth realizes great opportunity.

Realizing ambition and opportunity...
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