Macbeth Imagery Essay Research Paper In all

Macbeth Imagery Essay, Research Paper

In all of Shakespeare’s plays he uses many forms of imagery.

Imagery, the art of making images, the products of imagination. In the play

‘Macbeth’ Shakespeare applies the imagery of clothing, darkness and blood.

(listed from least to most), Each detail is his imagery, it seems to contain an

important symbol of the play. Symbols that the reader must understand if they

are to interpret either the passage or the play as a whole. Within the play

‘Macbeth’ the imagery of clothing portrays that Macbeth is seeking to hide his

"disgraceful self" from his eyes and others. 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. In opinion, the

reader thinks of the play honours 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, which is a crucial point that

Shakespeare has made. The description of the purpose of clothing in Macbeth is

the fact that these garments are not his. 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 loose and badly fitting garments, belonging to

someone else: "New honours come upon him,

Like our strange garments, cleave not to their mould, But with the aid of

use."(Act I, iii: 144) The second form used to add to the atmosphere, the imagery

of darkness. In a Shakespearean tragedy, we have known him to create a special

tone, or atmosphere to show the darkness in a tragedy. In ‘Macbeth’,

Shakespeare draws upon the design of the witches, the guilt in Macbeth’s soul,

and the darkness of the night to establish the atmosphere. All of the

remarkable 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 sleep walking. 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’ darkness symbolises many things.

First, and most important, 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 dark. In the play,

phrases of fear escape from lips even in her sleep. She believes darkness to be

the place of torment. Within the whole drama, the sun seems to shine only

twice. First, in the beautiful but ironical passage when Duncan sees the

swallows flirting round the castle of death. Another time, when at the close of

the avenging army gathers to rid the earth of its shame. Therefore, the reader

can conclude that Shakespeare portrays darkness to establish the evil parts of

the play; whereas, we employ daylight to define victory or goodness in the

play. We have known blood to all of us to represent life, death and often

injury. Blood is an essential part of life and without blood, we could not

live. This is known to everyone, and because of this, when Shakespeare uses the

imagery of blood to represent treason, guilt, murder and death. We have easily

understood it and fits in perfectly with the ideas we have of blood. Therefore,

this essay weighs blood to the most important imagery of Shakespeare’s play

‘Macbeth’. Shakespeare mentions the word blood, or different forms of it often

in the play. Forty-two times to be exact (ironically, the word fear also is

used the same amount), with several other passages dealing with imagery.

Perhaps the best way to describe how the image of blood changes throughout the

play, by following the character changes in Macbeth. First, he is a brave

honoured soldier, but as the play progresses, he becomes identified with death

and bloodshed, along with showing his guilt in different forms. The first

sinister reference to blood is one of honour, showed in Act I scene ii. This

occurs when Duncan sees the injured sergeant and says: "What bloody man is

that?". This is symbolic of the brave fighter who has been injured

in a valiant battle for his country. In the next passage, in which the sergeant

says: "Which smok’d with bloody

execution," He is referring to Macbeth’s braveness in which he covers

his sword in the hot blood of the enemy. Act II, Scene ii. The symbol of blood

now changes to show a form of treachery and treason. Lady Macbeth starts this

off when she asks the spirits to "Make thick my blood." What she is

saying by this, is that she wants to make herself insensitive and remorseless

for the deeds that she is about to commit. Lady Macbeth knows that the evidence

of blood is a treacherous symbol, and knows it will deflect the guilt from her

and Macbeth to the servants when she says: "Smear the sleepy grooms with blood.", and

"If he do bleed, I’ll gild the faces of the grooms withal, for it must

seem their guilt." Act V, Scene i – Lady Macbeth shows the most vivid example

of guilt with the use of the imagery of blood, in the scene that she walks in

her sleep. She says: "Out damned spot! Out I say! One: two: why then ’tis

time to do’t: hell is murky. Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard? What

need we fear who knows it when none can call out power to account? Yet who have

thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?" All these references in the quotation are to murder and both

include direct references to blood, again linking blood to treachery and

murder. Yet, this speech represents the fact that she cannot wipe the

bloodstains of Duncan off her hand. It is ironic that she says this, because

right after the murder, when Macbeth was feeling guilty, she said: "A little water clears us of

this deed." When the doctor of the castle finds out about this

sleepwalking, he tells Macbeth, "As she is troubled with thick-coming

fantasies," meaning that Lady Macbeth is having dreams that deal with

blood. Macbeth knows deep in his mind she is having troubles with her guilt,

but does not say anything about it. Act V, Scene viii – just before the ending

of the play, Macbeth has Macduff at his mercy, and lets him go, because of his

guilt. He shows that he is guilty, when he says "But get thee back, my

soul is too much charg’d with blood of thine already." Of which, Macduff

Replies, "I have no words, my voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain

than terms can give thee out." After the death of Macbeth at the hands of

Macduff, the imagery of blood swings back to what it was at the beginning of

the play. But, it is the honour of Malcolm this time. The death of Macbeth is

honoured achievement that they congratulate Macduff for. So as we have seen the

imagery of blood change from honour to treachery, and then to guilt. After, it

returns to honour again after the villain that changed the imagery of blood

from honour to tyranny is killed. Due to these many changes, we have proved

that the imagery of blood has many different forms that we can attribute to it

during the play. Therefore, blood is the main imagery notion.