Essay on Images and Imagery of Blood in Shakespeare's Macbeth

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Macbeth: Image of Blood

The tragedy of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, includes many images the most notable of which is blood. The recurring image of blood appears to be a vessel through which the audience learns more about the character of the main characters, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth.

Lady Macbeth is most noticeably affected by the image of blood; she began making references to it even before the murder of Duncan. In her pleading to the spirits, Lady Macbeth prays, "Make thick my blood" (I.v.43) in order that she may not feel any "remorse" for the course of action she plans for her husband and herself. Lady Macbeth sees her thin blood as a weakness in her character and wishes it to be richer (thicker)
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It is easily seen how Lady Macbeth loses her mind. Jumping from topic to topic, her jumbled thoughts incriminate her. She hallucinates about the return of Duncan's blood, as she cries, "Here's the smell of blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh" (V.i.49-51)! It is an irony that her weakness in character (thinness of her blood) cannot bear the strength of guilt brought upon her by the presence of Duncan's blood. This fact proves to be her fatal downfall for it ultimately drives her to suicide.

Macbeth is the next character upon which the image of blood takes its toll. However, its effect on him differs from its effect upon his wife. While being emotionally manipulated by Lady Macbeth, Macbeth feels remorse after committing his first murder. As time goes on though, it becomes easier for him to kill and he grows emotionally stronger while his wife grows progressively weaker.

Once Macbeth has committed his first murderous crime against Scotland, he instantly feels the effects of his deed. The overwhelming state of fear, anxiety and skittishness that set in can easily be seen in these lines:

Whence is that knocking?

How is't with me, when every noise appalls

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