How Does Shakespeare Use Imagery of Blood to Explore Themes in His Play, Macbeth?

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In the tragedy Macbeth, the playwright, William Shakespeare, explores various themes, using repeated imagery and references to blood. He conveys the Macbeths’ guilt through their continuous handwashing, and the hallucinations that Macbeth sees of his victims. Blood helps explore the theme of masculinity in the play when Lady Macbeth mocks her husband’s cowardice and points out that her hands are just as bloody as his and even she is not afraid. Shakespeare uses blood imagery extensively in Macbeth, and this helps the readers and viewers understand the themes and ideas. In Macbeth, guilt is an important theme because it is what eventually drives Macbeth and his wife mad. Shakespeare uses the image of blood as a symbol of guilt and wrongdoing, and it appears, mostly in their minds, when the characters are experiencing feelings of remorse or guilt. After Duncan’s murder, Lady Macbeth seems sure that ‘A little water clears us of this deed’. However, she sees blood on her hands, symbolic of guilt, throughout the rest of the play that she cannot clean off, no matter how much water she uses. Macbeth is visited by the ghost of Banquo, who he murdered to protect his secret. Macbeth says to the ghost, "Thou canst not say I did it: never shake / Thy gory locks at me." Banquo’s blood is a source of guilt for Macbeth, as he used to be his friend. He is so guilty, that he starts to hallucinate, and this is the beginning of his gradual decline into madness. After all the guests have left, Macbeth reflects that, ‘… blood will have blood.’ He thinks that Banquo’s ghost wants revenge, and this adds a new dimension to his guilt and fear of the ghost’s return. Unlike Macbeth, his wife does not openly show her guilt and fear, but has dreams where she exclaims, ‘What, will these hands ne’er be clean?’ and ‘Here’s the smell of blood still; all the perfumes /of Arabia will not sweeten

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