Macbeth Imagery Essay, Research Paper
In his plays, Shakespeare uses many forms of imagery. Many forms of his imagery are used in his play Macbeth, including the forms of clothing and darkness. Each detail in his imagery, it seems tome, contains an important symbol of the play, and symbols that we must understand if we are to understand either the passage it is
in, or the play as a whole.
In Macbeth I think that the imagery of clothing is used to suggest that throughout the play, Macbeth is seeking to hide his “disgraceful self” from his eyes
and from others. I think that Shakespeare wants to keep alive the ironical contrast between the wretched creature that Macbeth really is and the disguises he assumes to conceal the fact. Secondly, I think that in the play honours are thought of as garments
to be worn; likewise, Macbeth is constantly represented symbolically as the wearer of robes not belonging to him. He is wearing an “undeserved dignity.” A crucial point in describing the purpose of clothing in Macbeth is the fact that these are not his garments. Therefore, Macbeth is uncomfortable in them because he is continually conscious of the fact that they do not belong to him. In the following passage, the idea constantly
recurs that Macbeth’s new honours sit ill upon him, like a loose and badly fitting garment, belonging to someone else: New honours come upon him, Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould, But with the aid of use.
The second, most important chain of imagery used to add to the atmosphere is that of the imagery of darkness. In a Shakespearean tragedy a special tone, or atmosphere must be created to show the darkness and blackness in a tragedy. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the design of the witches, the guilt in Macbeth’s soul, and the darkness of the night to establish the atmosphere. All of the emarkable scenes take place at night or in some dark spot; for instance, the vision of the dagger, the murder of
Duncan, the murder of Banquo, and Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking, all occur at night. Darkness is the time when the traveller hastens to reach safety in his inn, when Banquo rides homeward to meet his assassins; furthermore, it is the time when the wolf howls, the owl screams, and when murder steals forth to his work.
In Macbeth I think the darkness symbolizes many things. First, and most importantly, it stands for the evil and death in the play. The darkness could partially blind out all of the horrible things that occur in the night. For, only in darkness can such
evil deeds be done. Secondly, the darkness shows one of Lady Macbeth’s weaknesses:
her fear of the dark. In the play, phrases of fear escape from her lips even in sleep. She believes darkness to be the place of torment.
In the whole drama, the sun seems to shine only twice. First, in the beautiful
but ironical passage when Duncan sees the swallows flirting rounds the castle of
death. Next, when at the close the avenging army gathers to rid the earth of its shame. Therefore; I can conclude that darkness is used to establish the evil parts of the play; whereas, daylight is used to establish victory or goodness in a play.