Topics: Macbeth, William Shakespeare, Duncan I of Scotland Pages: 3 (875 words) Published: December 4, 2005
Imagery: The Work of the Imagination

A picture may tell a thousand words, but an image is the product of imagination. In any piece of literature, imagery plays a significant role in illustrating the characters. In the play, Macbeth, written by William Shakespeare, the characters of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are developed through the use of clothing, sleep, and blood imagery.

Through the use of clothing imagery, Shakespeare exposes and develops the character of Macbeth. In the beginning, Macbeth is seen as loyal soldier of King Duncan. When presented with the title of Thane of Cawdor, he says "Why do you dress me/ In borrowed robes" (I.iii.115). This changes, however after the witches' prophecies awaken his ambition to be king. "Throughout the entire play, Macbeth is constantly wearing new clothes (titles), that are not his, and that do not fit. Hence, his ambition. This ambition, as we see, is what leads to his demise"(Planet Papers. Pars 2). This is proven through Banquo's words, "New honours come upon him/ Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mold/ But with the aid of use"(I.iv.160). After the witches' prophecies tell Macbeth that he will be king, Macbeth is overcome with ambition, and he kills Duncan so he can take over and be king. Apparently, Macbeth is trying to fit into clothes/titles that do not belong to him, because he does not deserve them. He is not fit to be king. " Now does he feel his title/ Hang loose about him/ Like a giant's robe/ Upon a dwarfish thief" (V.ii.23-25). Although, Macbeth changes ranks from a thane to a king, the complete opposite happens in his character.

In addition, sleep imagery is used to develop Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's character. Firstly, Macbeth is guilty of killing Duncan in his sleep. "Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more!/Macbeth does murder sleep'"(II.ii.50). Evidently, Macbeth's guilt is eating him up, and robbing him of sleep. "Glamis hath murdered sleep, and therefore/Cawdor/Shall sleep...
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