The Fall of Macbeth


Shakespeare uses many forms of imagery. The forms of imagery that are used in his play 'Macbeth? include the forms of clothing, darkness, and blood. Each image is an important symbol in the play.

Clothing, is a major and crucial part of ?Macbeth?, Shakespeare purposely used it to reveal Macbeth?s true character. It is also used to show how Macbeth is seeking to hide his ?disgraceful self? from his eyes and from others. Clothes in the play aren?t really clothes; the clothes that are being talked about are statures. Throughout the play Macbeth is represented symbolically as a person that wears robes that are not belonging to him, a person with an undeserved dignity. Macbeth is never comfortable with his clothes because of his conscious also because the clothes or stature aren?t belonging to him. In the play, Macbeth is named the Thane of Cawdor, these clothes were well and fit but because of his greed Macbeth had to look upon other peoples clothing, since in his way of thinking others had better clothing. From that point on his greed took over. Therefore he was driven to kill the king so he can take his clothes.

?The thane of Cawdor lives. Why do you dress me in borrowed robes??
(Macbeth,1.3,108, p.12)

?This means that Macbeth is always dressed in tittles that are not his.?

New honours come upon him,
Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould,
But with the aid of use.
(Banquo,1.3,144, p.14)

?This means that the idea constantly recurs that Macbeth?s new honours sit ill upon him, like a loose and badly fitting garment, belonging to someone else.?

Similarly, Shakespeare uses the symbol of blood in Macbeth to represent treason, guilt, murder and death. The first time we see blood in the play is when Macbeth sees the bloody dagger floating in the air in front of him. Shakespeare used this image to foreshadow what is going to happen next.

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as sight? Or art thou but
A dagger of mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in from as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshall?st me the way that I was going,
And such an instrument I was to use.
(Macbeth, 2.1, 33-61, p.26)

The second time blood is mentioned it was talking about guilt. This was when Macbeth killed the king, and forgot to cover the drugged guards with blood. "I laid their daggers ready; He could not miss them" (Lady Macbeth 2.2, 11-12, p.28) When Lady Macbeth was talking about this she said ? their ? so she was setting up the innocent guards. This left in her the guilt that stayed with her till the moment she dies. Another example of guilt is when Macbeth comes to wash his hands from the blood of the king he says ?"Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?" showing that nothing can ever wash away his guilt.

Another brick that helped build the play is darkness. Darkness is used to build an atmosphere in the play, due to every exciting scene happening at night or in a dark area. In 'Macbeth' darkness symbolizes many things; it symbolizes evil and death. The vision of the dagger, the murder of Duncan, the murder of Banquo, and Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking, all occur at night. In the whole play, the sun shines only twice. First, when Duncan sees the swallows flirting round the castle of death. Next, when at the close the avenging army gathers to rid the earth of its shame.

Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires:
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see
(Macbeth, 1.4, 50-53, p.16-17)

In conclusion the play of ? Macbeth ? had three main images clothing, darkness, and blood that helped and contributed to the understanding of the play. The three images built the play and gave it a stronger meaning, which makes the play of ?Macbeth? what it is.