Blood Imagery In Macbeth Essay

This essay has a total of 993 words and 5 pages.

Blood Imagery in Macbeth


Blood Imagery in William Shakespeare?s Macbeth

William Shakespeare wrote the Tragedy of Macbeth in approximately 1606 AD. He loosely
based it on a historical event occurring around 1050 AD. Macbeth is the story of a
nobleman, who, while trying to fulfill a prophecy told to him by three witches, murders
his King to cause his ascension to the throne of Scotland. After the King?s murder,
Macbeth reigns as a cruel and ruthless tyrant, who is forced to kill more people to keep
control of the throne. Finally, Scottish rebels combined with English forces attack
Macbeth?s castle, and Macbeth is killed by a Scottish Thane named Macduff who has
sacrificed everything to see peace return to Scotland.

In the play, the word ?blood? is mentioned numerous times. Shakespeare?s use of this
particular word is significant; he uses it to develop the character of Macbeth and the
unfolding events of the drama. The powerful symbolic meaning of blood changes from the
beginning to the end.

Near the beginning of the play, after Macbeth and the Scottish army defeated the rebel
Macdonwald?s army, a bleeding sergeant comes on stage. The sergeant then proceeds to
describe the battle and how bravely Macbeth and his friend Banquo fought, ?For brave
Macbeth-well he deserves that name- / Disdaining fortune, with his brandish?d steel /
Which smok?d with bloody execution, / Like valor?s minion carv?d out his passage?? (Act I,
Scene 2, Lines 19-21)

Blood is symbolic of bravery and courage in this passage. Blood shed for a noble cause is
good blood. However, Macbeth?s character changes throughout the play are characterized by
the symbolism in the blood he sheds.

Before Duncan?s murder, Macbeth imagines seeing a dagger floating in the air before him.
He describes it, ?And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, / Which was not so before.
There?s no such thing: / It is the bloody business which informs / Thus to mine eyes.?

The blood imagery in this passage obviously refers to treason, ambition, and murder. This
is a stark contrast to what blood meant earlier in the play. Blood, once seen as a
positive value, is now associated with evil. This imagery also shows the beginning of
Macbeth?s character transformation from a personage of nobility, honesty, and bravery to
that of treachery, deceit, and evil.
Continues for 3 more pages >>

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