Blood Imagery in Macbeth
Guilt is a frustrating feeling; it evokes regret, self-punishment, and shame. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth do not know it, but every time they murder, their guilt increases, and they step closer to their downfall. Shakespeare uses the imagery of blood in Macbeth to illustrate the inevitable guilt of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and how their roles change by the end of the play.
In the beginning of Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth try their best to hide their conscience. Macbeth commands the stars to “hide your fires; / Let not light see my black and deep desires” (1.4.57-58). If the stars hide their light, Macbeth's dark desires will be hidden and he will feel no guilt. Lady Macbeth speaks to the spirits and orders them to “unsex me here / And fill me . . .top-full / Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood, / Stop up the access and passage to remorse” (1.5.42-45). Lady Macbeth calls the evil spirits to get rid of her female qualities, to make her a man, and to hide her conscience so she will feel no guilt. Both of them know that once they feel guilt, they will be doomed and found guilty.
After killing Duncan, Macbeth feels extreme guilt, while Lady Macbeth seems to experience no guilt at all. Macbeth looks down at his bloody hands and mumbles, “This is a sorry sight” (2.2.28). He regrets killing King Duncan, a man of great virtues, and wishes that he could undo his evil act. Macbeth feels so guilty he forgets to leave the daggers with the guards. He refuses to go back because he is “afraid to think what I have done; / Look on’t again I dare not” (2.2.65-66). Macbeth believes his conscience will never let this horrendous act go. He exclaims to Lady Macbeth, “Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red” (2.2.76-79). Macbeth feels that all the oceans in the world will not wash away his dishonor for killing...