Role of Imagery

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Imagery is important in all Shakespearean plays because it helps the reader to understand the storyline more thoroughly. It is a key tool all author’s use to give a deeper understanding to his or her writing. An online source explains what imagery is: “The use of vivid or figurative language to represent objects, actions, or ideas” ( In Macbeth, Shakespeare adds many uses of imagery in order to provide a deeper understanding to the form of literature. All of these uses of imagery play the role of developing character and atmosphere in Macbeth.

During the play, Shakespeare uses imagery of clothing to reveal Macbeth’s disgraceful character to the audience. Within the play the imagery of clothing portrays that Macbeth is trying to hide his “disgraceful self from himself and others.” The imagery of clothing seems to consistently come up whenever Macbeth’s downfall takes a new step. First, clothing imagery is used when Macbeth is named the new thane of Cawdor. After Ross and Angus give Macbeth this new title he says, “The thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me/ In borrow’d robes?” (I, ii, 107-108). This particular circumstance is a quote, which shows one of Macbeth’s positive aspects about his character. The clothing imagery Macbeth used was his question of why he was given a title that someone else already has, relating to a borrowed piece of clothing, which someone already owns. This reveals that at the beginning of the play, Macbeth was very respectful to others, and didn’t wish “to step on anybody’s toes.” Secondly, clothing imagery is again used at the end of the play when Angus talks about how Macbeth now must feel about all the wrong he has done. Angus says, “now does he feel his title/ Hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe/ Upon a dwarfish thief” (V, ii, 20 – 22). The clothing imagery of a dwarf wearing a robe, which he stole from a giant, relates to the title of king, which Macbeth stole from Duncan. It is meant to explain...
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