Macbeth's Images and Imagery

1882 Words Jul 9th, 2018 8 Pages
Macbeth's Imagery

William Shakespeare in the tragedy Macbeth very skillfully uses imagery to support other aspects of the drama, especially the theme. In this essay let us examine the imagery, including literary critical comment.

Roger Warren comments in Shakespeare Survey 30 , regarding Trervor Nunn's direction of Macbeth at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1974-75, on opposing imagery used to support the opposing notions of purity and black magic:

Much of the approach and detail was carried over, particularly the clash between religious purity and black magic. Purity was embodied by Duncan, very infirm (in 1974 he was blind), dressed in white and accompanied by church organ music, set against the black magic of the
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Lady Macbeth will make the two chamberlains drunk on wine. Macbeth feels the pressure of the impending "bloody business" and thereby has a vision of the murder instrument: "Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee." The image of a dagger intensifies the criminal nature of the act about to be committed.

In Act 2, Scene 2, Lady Macbeth confesses to her husband that could not perform the murder because "Had he not resembled / My father as he slept, I had done't." So Macbeth follows through with the killing. Immediately he is striken with guilt as he exclaims, looking on his hands, to his wife, "This is a sorry sight," and "I had most need of blessing." This bit of religious imagery shows that his soul is salvageable. He acts as a type of his wife's subsequent reaction when, alarmed by a knock at the door, he exclaims: "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?" The sea imagery, strengthened by mythical imagery, demonstrates an inner feeling of futility in his wish to escape from his burden of guilt.

The next morning Macduff and Lennox arrive to awaken the king. Lennox relates in an image-filled monologue the strange happenings of the evening:

The night has been unruly: where we lay,

Our chimneys were blown down; and, as they say,

Lamentings heard i' the
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