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’s Importance In Macbeth Essay, Research Paper

Blood s Importance in Macbeth

This paper intends to explain the motif of blood in Macbeth. The obsession with blood by both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is a sign of blood s importance as a motif in Macbeth. The further intention of this paper is to discuss the primary source Macbeth and the following articles: Barron s Booknotes, and The Theme of Blood in Macbeth. The primary source Macbeth and the above articles will clearly show that the obsession with blood by both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth is a sign of bloods importance as a motif in Macbeth.

The primary source Macbeth shows blood as a motif in many different areas of the story. When Lady Macbeth plans to kill Duncan she calls upon the sprits of murder and says Make thick my blood; / Stop up the access and passage to remorse (Winston 313). Thin blood was considered healthy, and it was thought that poison made blood thick. Lady Macbeth wants to poison her own soul, so that she can kill without remorse. Just before Macbeth kills King Duncan he stares at the dagger that his mind imagines. He stares at the dagger and sees thick drops of blood appear at the hilt and blade. Then Macbeth says to the dagger I see thee still, /And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of


blood, / Which was not so before (320). However, Macbeth didn t lose it all yet and he says, “There’s no such thing. / It is the bloody business which informs / Thus to mine eyes (320). The bloody business he is referring to is the murder he is about to commit. At this point in the play Macbeth seems to be losing his mind. After Macbeth kills Duncan he goes back to his wife and is still holding the dagger. She then takes the dagger and plants in on Duncan s gourds. Macbeth just stands there and stares at his hands. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? (323), he then answers and declares “No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red” (323). As to say that the blood on his hands will turn a green ocean red. In contrast, his wife thinks his obsession with blood shows that he’s a coward. She dips her hands in the dead King’s blood, and smears her hands with that blood, then tells Macbeth that “My hands are of your colour; but I shame / To wear a heart so white” (323). She means that now her hands are bloody, like his, but she would be ashamed to have a “white” or bloodless and cowardly heart like his. She leads him away to wash his hands, and she seems quite sure that “A little water clears us of this deed” (323). Telling Malcolm and Donalbain of their father’s murder, Macbeth says, “The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood / Is stopp’d; the very source of it is stopp’d” (327). Here, the primary meaning of “your blood” is “your family,” but Macbeth’s metaphors also picture blood as a life-giving essence. A second later, blood is spoken of as a sign of guilt. Lennox says that it appears that the King was murdered by his grooms, because “Their hands and faces were all badged with blood” (327). It’s the morning after the night of King


Duncan’s murder, and Ross says to an Old Man, “Ha, good father, / Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with man’s act, / Threaten his bloody stage” (329). The “stage” is this earth, where we humans play out our lives. Because of Duncan’s murder, the stage is bloody and the heavens are angry. These are some incidents of blood in Macbeth.

In the article by Internet Source 1, the author tells us how Duncan s blood has no effect on Lady Macbeth and that she is pour evil. While Macbeth has horrifying visions, Lady Macbeth seems cool and literal minded. To her, Duncan’s blood is just something to

be washed off her hands. Worrying over things you cannot alter is a waste of time, she says (Internet Source 1). The site of Duncan s blood on Macbeth s hands has turned him crazy. Unlike Macbeth, Lady Macbeth is unaffected by the blood at this point in the play, to her it is something that can just be washed away. The blood that Macbeth sees is driving him mad. When he sees the floating dagger it is dripping with blood. Then suddenly, the dagger appears to be covered with blood. Has Macbeth lost his mind? (Internet Source 1) To the reader and to Macbeth himself, he has lost his mind. The blood, which he sees, is that of Duncan who he will kill later. The blood plays a major part because Macbeth knows whose blood it is. The author later tells us of how blood can make two different people react the total opposite of what you would expect.

Macbeth enters, his hands covered with Duncan’s blood. Notice how he sharp, quick exchange of words between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth underscores the tension: Lady: Did you not speak?

Macbeth: When? Lady: Now.

Macbeth: As I descended?

Lady: Ay.

As the scene proceeds, Macbeth and his wife behave in a manner exactly opposite

from what we would expect. According to conventional logic, Macbeth, who is a soldier and has already killed many men in battle that day, should not be bothered


by the murder. On the other hand, we would understand perfectly if his wife were upset by having been involved in a killing. (Internet Source 1)

This shows that blood has an effect so great on Macbeth that it breaks him even if he has killed before in war. This is different, he killed for a purpose and that was to rise to power. Lady Macbeth on the other hand is unaffected; she has the same power hunger. The death of Duncan means nothing to her, only that she is one step closer to getting more power.

Internet Source 2 explains that the symbolism of blood is caused from guilt. perhaps the most vivid use of the symbol blood, is of the theme of guilt (Internet Source 2.) if he would ever be able to forget the dastardly deed that he had committed (Internet Source 2). The author is talking about when Macbeth is washing his hands that have blood on them. The author explains that Macbeth feels he will never be able to forget what he has done. Then the ghost of Banquo, all gory, and bloody comes to haunt Macbeth at the banquet. The sight of apparitions represents his guilt for the murder of Banquo, which he planned. Macbeth shows guilt after Banquo is killed and they are at his dinner party (Internet Source 1). In this quote from the source the author shows how the blood from witch Macbeth has shed has caused him all this grief.

The research presented has supported the importance of the motif of blood in Macbeth. The blood that covered both Macbeth s and Lady Macbeth s hands are a sign of guilt and insanity. Without the blood Macbeth may have had no guilt at all. Blood in the play Macbeth played a major role, in turn one man insane beyond believe. If

Macbeth didn t have a conscience he wouldn t have imagined the blood in that way and

would have had no guilt.

Work Cited

Holt, Reinhart, Winston. Macbeth by Shakespeare. Elements of Literature. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company. 1997.

Internet Source 1. Macbeth. Barron s Booknotes. (1996): 8 pars. Online. Internet. 20 April 1999.

Internet Source 2. The theme of Blood in Macbeth. (1994): 31 pars. Online. Internet. 23 April 1999.

Scott, Mark W. Macbeth. Shakespeare for Students. Detroit: Gale Research. 1992

Weller, Philip. Blood. Click Notes. (1998): 24 par.s Online. Internet. 21 April 1999

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