William Shakespeare's Use of Imagery in Macbeth
In 16th century literature, primarily plays, it is common practice for authors to employ various forms of imagery in order to draw more emotion from the reader or audience. William Shakespeare, a literary master, makes heavy use of imagery in most of his works. Macbeth, one of his most famous plays, is no exception to this. Macbeth implements numerous examples of imagery and symbolism in order to strengthen the theme and add depth to the underlying subtext within the play. Shakespeare makes heavy use of clothing and the appearance of characters to augment the deception that took place throughout the play. After Macbeth becomes king, the role which he has taken is compared to clothes that simply do not fit right. "New honours come upon him, Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould, But with the aid of use" (I, iii). Lady Macbeth's advice to Macbeth is, "Look like the innocent flower, but be the serpent under't" (I, v). In this example, Shakespeare utilizes the appearance of the characters to further illustrate the deceit that has taken place. He contrasts the image of a flower with that of a snake. The flower is meant to be a symbol of innocence, whereas the snake is a common metaphor for evil. Macbeth also makes a statement of his own. "False face must hide what the false heart doth know" is what he said to his wife during this conversation (I, v). Again, Shakespeare makes use of the character's appearance in order to hide the evil inside of them. In Act III, Scene v, Macbeth tells Lady Macbeth that they are "Unsafe the while that we must have our honours in these flattering streams, and make our faces wizards to our hearts, disguising what they are." Macbeth again clearly states that they must make their faces appear to be innocent, although they have already killed several people. After Duncan is murdered, Malcolm says to Donalbain, "To show as unfelt sorrow is an office...
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