Blood feeling of guilt. “What hands are here…they pluck

Blood is a life-supporting substance found in everyone and is the key to survival and sometimes is what drives the actions causing death. Blood, what has often been shed for the universal good. Shakespeare’s play Macbeth was written in 1606 to warn the king and it mentions blood 43 times and is a prime example of how blood is used to symbolize and magnify heroism, guilt, fear, evil, and most importantly it is used to enhance the horror of the deeds part taken in the play resulting in shame. Throughout the 5 acts of the play Shakespeare uses blood imagery to give a deeper and richer understanding of how the almighty Macbeth falls beneath everything he stood for. In the very beginning, act 1, of Shakespeare play Macbeth, blood imagery is used to symbolize heroism. This is the first time blood is mentioned and unfortunately the last time it will symbolize the greatness of Macbeth. “What bloody man is that? He can report, as seemeth by his plight, of the revolt the newest state” (1, 1, 1-10). King Duncan at this time is questioning a sergeant. The sergeant informs King Duncan about Macbeth’s heroic victories over Macdonwald and the king of Norway. As the sergeant tells the story the realization that he has lost a vast majority of blood and is weak comes to mind, making the sergeant himself seem heroic and because of this he makes making Macbeth himself seem even more heroic. In this case blood imagery is a symbol of strength and power, key components of a hero, seen at that moment as Macbeth. Act 2 employs blood imagery throughout the majority of the scenes. In this act blood imagery is used to symbolize the ongoing feeling of guilt. “What hands are here…they pluck out mine eyes. With all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand…making the green  one red” (2, 2, 60-64). The blood seen on Macbeth’s hands strongly represents Macbeth’s inability to remove the murder from his conscious, and “all great Neptune’s Ocean wash this blood clean from my hands” (2, 2, 60-64), Symbolizes the large amount of guilt that Macbeth feels after he kills Duncan. Finally the change in blood color from green to red symbolizes that the guilt Macbeth feels will always remain there to haunt him as the horrific crime is present in his mind. Blood imagery in this act rather than representing heroism represents the large amount of guilt. Guilt that is everlasting. Shakespeare’s play Macbeth not only includes blood imagery to symbolize heroism and guilt, it also in act 3 is used to symbolize fear. Macbeth after murdering King Duncan causes him to experience the long term effect of eternal fear for the crime he committed. “And with thy bloody and invisible hand cancel and tear to pieces that great bond which keeps me pale!” (3, 2, 48-50). Macbeth feels obligated to cancel his thoughts and his feelings of the guilt that lives within him out of complete fear, to prevent further suspicion. “Bloody, and invisible,” mentioned is also an oxymoron that establishes the contrast between appearance versus reality by comparing guilt and innocence. This is just one of many examples of how blood imagery is used to portray fear in act 3. It is written in such way that makes the reader themselves see and feel the guilt and fear that Macbeth is facing when he sees his “bloody and invisible hand.” Blood imagery is also very significant in act 4. Blood is used to symbolize evil. In scene 1 of act 4 a witch takes part in Macbeth’s horrendous actions. When Macbeth seeks the witches for help, the witches prepare an apparition. During the first apparition witch one, says “pour in sow’s blood” (4, 1, 64). The fact that blood is mentioned can only give off the idea that the apparition is formed by evil forces, such as Macbeth. In the second apparition a bloody child makes an appearance. This apparition informs Macbeth to “be bloody, bold and resolute (4, 1, 79). The witch’s purpose of saying this was to over confident Macbeth which led him to being a monster, and murderer of his own people. Blood imagery in act 4 was used to give the reader an understanding of how Macbeth has changed over the course of the play so far. Its symbolism of evil created an image of how Macbeth is seen amongst others, this imagery was also used to question whether or not Lady Macbeth is to blame for the murder of King Duncan.Blood imagery in act 5 is used to symbolize shame and once again the feeling of guilt. More specifically this particular imagery focuses on Lady Macbeth herself. “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 knew it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?’ (4, 1, 32-37). Lady Macbeth experiences many mental problems throughout this play, more specifically when she is sleepwalking in Macbeth’s castle. She begins to sense her own guilt and shame and at this point she realises the mistakes she has made but is still unable to rub the blood stained on her hands. This is seen as blood imagery that symbolizes treachery, long term fear, guilt, and shame. All of these have had a major impact on Lady Macbeth and for that very reason it was the cause of her death. In conclusion, Macbeth is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare. It dramatizes the damage caused by physical and psychological effects of ambition on those who seek only power for their own sake which is present in major characters such as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Blood imagery has had a major effect on the understanding of this play, and symbolizes the great tragedy emphasizing on heroism, guilt, fear, evil, and shame.


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