Image of Blood in Macbeth Essay

710 Words3 Pages
Macbeth was one of Shakespeare's most popular tragedies, but was also considered to be the most violent of them all. There were over 100 instances during which blood was spilled, spoken of, or implied throughout the play. Many people wonder why there was so much bloodshed in Macbeth. Was there truly a purpose, or did the writer just want to use bloody images to invoke fear and suspense? Blood did in fact invoke fear and suspense but it also meant much more than that. The symbol of blood is significant throughout the play, because it is a symbol of honour, sin, and guilt.
Shakespeare used the image of blood to represent honour in Macbeth as a symbol of bravery and justice in certain characters. Macbeth made use of his bravery in order to
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Everyone thought that justice had been served, therefore proving that for every action there will be an equal and opposite reaction. Thus when Macduff got his bloody prize by killing Macbeth, he says, ?Hail King, for so thou art. Behold where stands The usurper?s cursed head.? (V. viii. 64-66). Even though blood was normally viewed as a negative and usually fatal symbol, it actually represented honour repeatedly throughout the play.
Sin was symbolized by blood throughout the play by representing the evil qualities of certain characters in the play, and the passing on of blame from the guilty to the innocent. In Macbeth, blood was quite literally a symbol of evil qualities, because in the Elizabethan Era, people believed that those who had thick blood running through their veins were ruthless and merciless people. When Lady Macbeth was plotting out Duncan?s murder, she called upon the devil so that he could ?Make thick my blood, Stop up the access and passage to remorse.? (I. v. 46-47). The transfer of blame from the guilty to the innocent was also symbolized by blood in the play when Lady Macbeth smeared Duncan?s blood on the guards? hands. One instance of the passing on of guilt during the play was when Lady Macbeth told her husband to, ?Go carry them, and smear The sleepy grooms with blood?For it must seem their guilt.? (II. ii. 58-59 + 68). The image of evil qualities and transferring blame was significant in Macbeth, and Shakespeare chose to use blood in
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