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Symbolism in Shakespeare's Macbeth

3 Pages 641 Words March 2019

A focal point in Shakespeare’s play, Macbeth, is the recurring symbolism of blood. Blood is used to show the guilt inflicted on Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. Their wicked greed and ambitiousness cause them to murder and betray their kingdom which eventually leads to their downfall. By using blood as a symbol of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s ruin, Shakespeare reveals that their story has a tragic ending due to their power-hungry ambition.
The first occurrence of blood is mentioned by Lady Macbeth when she received a letter from her husband, Macbeth, that he has been given a prophecy that he will be king. She uses the words “make thick my blood” and “unsex me here” to show that she would do anything to ensure that her husband will rule the kingdom, even if that means murdering the king. Although Macbeth was only told that he “shalt be king hereafter!” by the witches, he is not given the reason why or how he will come to do this. In Lady Macbeth’s mind, this means that Macbeth should murder King Duncan to claim the throne. Shortly after Macbeth murders King Duncan, he immediately shows his grief and even refuses to finish the job that Lady Macbeth gives to him. Through his guilt, he hangs on the murder weapon he used to kill Duncan, instead of planting the daggers on the guards to make it look like they committed the murder. As Macbeth looks down at his hands, he sees that they are dripping with the king’s blood. He asks if any god could “wash the blood clean from my hand”. Lady Macbeth sees Macbeth’s reaction as being foolish because a “little water” would clear them of murdering the king. To Lady Macbeth, the blood can be washed away so that there is no remorse or proof of the murder. However, for Macbeth, the blood has a deeper meaning than that and washing his hands will not alleviate the emotional pain and trauma that he just went through.
The murder of King Duncan was proposed by Lady Macbeth. She insisted t...

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