Blood Imagery in Macbeth Essay

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Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a story taken from Scottish history and presented to the Scottish king James I. Shakespeare took this gory tale of murderous ambition, however, and transformed it into an imaginative tale of good and evil. Shakespeare brought about this transformation by relying upon “imaginative verbal vigor” that imbeds itself in the brilliantly concentrated phrases of this literary work. Critics have dubbed it his darkest work, along with King Lear. In his critique of Shakespeare’s works and plays, Charles Haines describes Macbeth as “one of Shakespeare’s shortest plays, containing just 2,108 lines.” He further states that it is a vigorous, headlong drama, a relentless spectacle in red and black. (Haines, p. 105) This red and…show more content…
The use of blood imagery also allows the audience to imagine the true gruesomeness of King Duncan’s murder. In Act II of Macbeth, the soliloquy describes how Macbeth plans to murder the king. He describes in detail what he will see. “ I see thee still, and on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, which was not so before.” (Act II, Scene 5. Line1) The dudgeon of a dagger is the hilt of the dagger (, pg. 1) Therefore; Macbeth is describing a sharp dagger, covered in thick blood from its tip to the hilt. One can easily visualize the crime scene and the victim’s body after such a dagger has been plunged into it several times. These deep wounds, the length of said dagger, become the points from which King Duncan’s lifeblood will spill. This particular description relies on its imagery to reveal the transition from honor to that of pure evil and treachery. No good intent, honor, or victory can attach to such a vile act. Blood imagery now intensifies an atmosphere that is thoroughly evil. It exposes the evil plans and actions that have come to dominate the characters of Macbeth and his lady. Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to “ make thick my blood.” (Act I, Scene 5, line. 50) She is asking the spirits to leave her” remorseless and insensitive about the murders she and Macbeth will soon commit. To feel insensitive to such treachery would expose a heart of pure evil.

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