Macbeth

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Blood is a recurring symbol in the Macbeth play. Representing honor, disloyalty, and guilt, Shakespeare uses blood to describe Macbeth’s desire to destroy his king, leading to the eventual downfall of his country. The first mention of blood in Macbeth takes place early in the play. During act 1, scene 2, Duncan notices the injured soldier and states, “What bloody man is that?” This reference symbolizes honor as the soldier is returning from battle. He tells a story of Macbeth’s victory over Macdonwald and the King of Norway, lending even more honor to the symbolic blood covering his body. The bloody battle foreshadows the bloody murders that come in the future. Another example of blood being symbolized in this story is guilt. This is portrayed when Macbeth start murdering people and saids “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?” Macbeth cries after he has killed Duncan, even as his wife scolds him and says that a little water will do the job (2.2.58–59). Macbeth begins to feel that their crimes have been stained in a way that cannot be washed clean. Lady Macbeth also begins to feel guilt Out, damned spot; out, I say . . . who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?” she asks as she wanders through the halls of their castle near the close of the play (5.1.30–34). Blood symbolizes the guilt that is a permanent stain on the consciences of both of them , one that hounds them to their graves. Another example of blood portraying honor takes place later in the play during the death scene of Macbeth. Right before Macduff kills Macbeth, he saids, “My voice is in my sword, thou bloodier than terms can give thee out.” With this line, Macbeth’s pleas to have his life spared will not be answered by Macduf f this is a display of courage on Macduff’s part. Where betrayal is concerned, blood also symbolizes acts of murder and treason. One such allusion is mentioned in act 2, scene 1, during Macbeth‘s...
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