Blood as a Symbol in Macbeth

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Blood as a Symbol in Macbeth Macbeth is one of Shakespeare’s most tragic and violent plays. It is only fitting, then, that blood is the main symbol throughout this sad tale. Representing honor, disloyalty, and guilt, Shakespeare uses blood to describe Macbeth’s desire to destroy his king, leading to the eventual downfall of his country. The first mention of blood in Macbeth takes place early in the play. During act 1, scene 2, Duncan notices the injured soldier and states, “What bloody man is that?” This first reference symbolizes honor as the soldier (a sergeant) is returning from battle. He tells a story of Macbeth’s victory over Macdonwald and the King of Norway, lending even more honor to the symbolic blood covering his body. The manner in which Macbeth killed Duncan is just as bloody, splitting him from his navel to his lips. Such a kill would require a great deal of blood. Another example of blood portraying honor takes place later in the play during the death scene of Macbeth. Right before Macduff kills Macbeth, he tells the ill-fated title character, “My voice is in my sword, thou bloodier than terms can give thee out.” With this line, the audience knows that Macbeth’s pleas to have his life spared will not be answered by Macduff. In turn, this is a display of courage on Macduff’s part. Where betrayal is concerned, blood also symbolizes acts of murder and treason. One such allusion is mentioned in act 2, scene 1, during Macbeth‘s soliloquy. Macbeth sees a bloody dagger floating in midair and sees on the blade a “dudgeon gouts of blood”. These red blobs are one of the first to appear in the play as symbols of murder or an act of a vicious death, foreshadowing the fate of Duncan. In act 2 , scene 2, Lady Macbeth smears blood from the dagger on the faces and hands of the kings drugged servants. This is an act of betrayal as she tries to

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