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Blood's Role in Macbeth

By AdamHollins13 Mar 12, 2012 587 Words
24 May 2010

The Role of Blood in Shakespeare’s Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy of Macbeth is one of William Shakespeare’s most famous works. Junior

high students, high school students as well as college students have studied this

popular play over hundreds of years. This story appeals to most readers. It is filled with

murder, guilt and jealousy all at the same time. The Tragedy of Macbeth continues to

relate to similar events and murders of our modern time. Shakespeare’s ability to

summarize the range of human emotions in simple yet profoundly eloquent verse is

perhaps the greatest reason for his enduring prophecy (Millard 2010). Of the many

running themes in the play Macbeth blood has the most significance. The

blood symbolizes more than the difference between life and death. It actually has a

Hidden identity throughout the story. The role blood plays in Macbeth is one of the main

themes, increases as Macbeth’s ambition increases and it empowers Lady Macbeth’s


Blood in the play Macbeth happens to coincide with whatever Macbeth is doing in

the play. Macbeth has a craving for incidents involving blood. This is shown when

Banquo is brutally murdered, in spite of their friendship. Blood

was circulating through Macbeth’s mind which made him deranged enough to kill

anything and anyone which happened to be his friend. The significance of blood caused

him to engage in murder.

Another role that blood plays in Macbeth is that it increases as his ambition

increases. When Macbeth kills his first victim he experiences magnificent excitement.

Blood drives Macbeth’s ambition from the first time he sees blood to when he dies

because the blood is something he wants to see. The sight of blood drives Macbeth’s

ambition. The blood images form a sort of crescendo which conglomerates all of the

murders (Dartman 2010). Thus, the blood imagery is so prevalent during and after the

each murder, and because it tapers off before the wave of the next murder it paces the

wave of action in the play (Dartman 2010).

Blood also empowers Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s ambition because it is evident to a

Reader that Lady Macbeth wants Macbeth to kill Duncan, Fleance and Banquo. The

blood flows through the prophecy telling Lady Macbeth to tell Macbeth to kill Duncan.

The blood also controls her when she has to kill the guards. Her quote, “Make thick my

blood; /stop the access and passage to remorse (1.5. 43-44)”, speaks to her request from

the blood to provide her with courage to carry out a deed.

The blood in the play The Tragedy of Macbeth is a running theme of significance.

Unlike several themes throughout the play the blood has many roles. The blood speaks to

characters, empowers the killers and increases ambition. Macbeth’s mental fixation on

symbolism of blood has driven him to commit crimes that he would not otherwise

commit. The constant circulation in his mind leads him in his endeavors of murder. The

blood excites and makes him want to kill repeatedly. Lady Macbeth’s empowerment by

the blood makes her force Macbeth into committing further crimes. The blood is a continuing and running theme. It clearly signifies criminal activity and the emotions

surrounding it.

Works Cited

Blood in Macbeth, David Dartman, September 27th, 2008, Accessed May 21, 2010.

Millard, Amanda, Why Study Shakespeare,, August 20th 2000 Accessed May 18th, 2010.

Shakespeare, William, the Tragedy of Macbeth, 2010

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