The Symbol of Blood in William Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay examples

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The Symbol of Blood in William Shakespeare's Macbeth

Blood represents life, death and often injury. It is an essential part of life, and without blood, we could not live. In Macbeth, Shakespeare uses the symbol of blood to represent treachery, murder and death. The word "blood", or different forms of it, appear numerous times throughout the play. Interestingly, the symbol of blood changes throughout the play, corresponding to the atmosphere and mood changes in the characters and the play.

First, blood is a reference of honor, and this occurs when Duncan sees the injured sergeant and says, "What bloody man is that?"(1.2.1). This is symbolic of the brave fighter who been injured in a valiant battle for Scotland. The sergeant
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Lady Macbeth starts this off when she asks the spirits to "make thick [her] blood"(1.5.50). What she is saying by this, is that she wants to make herself insensitive and remorseless for the deed she is hoping to commit. However, she forces Macbeth to do the deed. Right before killing Duncan, Macbeth sees a dagger floating in the air leading him to Duncan?s room and he sees "on the blade and dudgeon gouts of blood"(2.1.58), indicating that the knife has been viciously stabbed into someone. This is a Lady Macbeth knows that the evidence of blood is a treacherous symbol, and knows it will deflect the guilt from her and Macbeth to the servants when she says "If he do bleed, I?ll gild the faces of the grooms withal, for it must seem their guilt"(2.2.71-73).

When Banquo states "and question this most bloody piece of work"(2.3.150), and Ross asks "is?t known who did this more than bloody deed?"(2.4.31), they are both inquiring as to who performed the treacherous acts upon Duncan. When Macbeth is speaking about Malcolm and Donalbain, he refers to them as "bloody cousins"

A final way, and perhaps the most vivid use of the symbol blood, is of the theme of guilt. First Macbeth hints at his guilt when he says "Will all great Neptune?s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?"(2.2.78), meaning that he wondered if he would ever be able to forget the dastardly deed that he had committed. Then the ghost of Banquo, all gory, and bloody comes to haunt Macbeth at the

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