In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the image of blood is employed effectively to develop characters.

Characters like Macbeth and lady Macbeth are developed throughout the play by the utilization of real and unreal blood. each characters are seen to have gone crazy by the end of the play with the image of blood taking part in an enormous role in that. Throughout the play the image of blood is employed as a symbol of murder and guilt so as to continue developing the character of Macbeth. for instance, “And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, which was not so before. There’s no such thing: it is the bloody business which informs thus to mine eyes” (II, i, 53-56).

This exposes the fearfulness of Macbeth before he kills Duncan; Macbeth sees a floating “dagger of the mind” that points him in the path of Duncan’s room. The dagger becomes coated in imagined blood, that is foreshadowing to Macbeth murdering Duncan. Another example would be, “What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes! will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather the multitudinous seas incarnadine, making the green one red” (II, ii, 76-80). Macbeth thinks that his hands would stain the seas scarlet, turning the green waters red. He has so much guilt that it’s fully impossible to free himself of it. From this quote the audience starts to see the guilt consume Macbeth which will eventually result in his downfall.

The guilt that Macbeth feels, that is symbolized by blood, is used to indicate many changes in his character that may be seen within the future events of the play after Duncan’s murder. for instance, “I am in blood, step’t in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er” (III, iv, 167-169). He says that currently he’s so far in that it might be easier to keep going than to go back. This starts to indicate how Macbeth is not any longer frightened of the guilt that the things he has done has brought him, he’s now more accepting of it. The change in Macbeth is effectively painted by blood imagery, very similar to the character transformations seen in lady Macbeth.

The image of blood also reveals a lot concerning lady Macbeth’s shift in mental state throughout the play. for instance, “My hands area unit of your color, but I shame to wear a heart so white” (II, ii, 81-82). initially lady Macbeth is the one who plans the murder and who desires to go through with it. She even tells Macbeth that he’s too weak and pure and that he’s a coward. despite the fact that they were each to blame for Duncan’s murder she ultimately feels fine. as the play progresses lady Macbeth slowly starts to feel the guilt until eventually it consumes her.

this can be shown in act 5 scene 1 line 32 “Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”. She has began to see a spot of blood on her hand, despite the fact that it really isn’t there. This shows how the guilt has affected her state of mind and how she has changed throughout the play. it’s apparent that the image of blood is used to indicate the guilt that leads lady Macbeth down the trail of becoming insane, changing her from a killer into somebody who she made fun of Macbeth for being in the beginning of the play.

 In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the role blood plays is to portray guilt. This guilt results in the dramatic shifts within the minds of lady Macbeth and Macbeth. Their hands are stained red from the blood the blood of the dead; Macbeth suffers death by going too deep and too far within the blood that continues to stain him, and lady Macbeth is driven fully insane by a red spot on her hand. By examining many samples of blood used as imagery, it’s clear that in Macbeth it’s an important part of revealing characterization.


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