macbeth analysis

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In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, blood symbolizes Macbeth’s battlefield valor, the effects of Macbeth’s tyrannical reign, and Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s distressing guilt. The audience first encounters Macbeth through the powerful words of a captain wounded in battle. Macbeth is described as “Brave Macbeth (well he deserves that name)” (I.i.16). Macbeth is initially characterized in a hero’s persona, gruesomely killing enemies on the battlefront; to the audience, Macbeth’s brave conquests are in their infant stages in the play. However, when Macbeth chooses a path unfit for a heroic warrior, he becomes tragically doomed. Once Macbeth becomes king, he also becomes subject to his tyrannical rule and obsession over power. Leading to the grisly deaths of many respected individuals within the Scottish kingdom, Macbeth’s power-hungry mentality is symbolized by the bloody state of Scotland itself. “Bleed, bleed, poor country!” (IV.iii.30), Macduff exclaims, referring to the sorry state of Scotland since Macbeth has come to power. Macbeth is also plagued by guilt in certain acts of the play, and the symbolism of blood plays an important role in identifying Macbeth’s remorseful emotions. Battling with his guilty conscience, Macbeth becomes overwhelmed with grief and decides that there is no turning back; he must strive to finish what he started. Macbeth states that he is “In blood/ Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more, / Returning were as tedious as go o'er” (III.iv.135-137). In the opening lines of scene two, King Duncan asks about a captain saying, “What bloody man is that?” (I.i.1). The captain proceeds to tell the story of Macbeth's valiant victories over Macdonwald, stating, “For brave Macbeth…/ with his brandish’d steel, / which smoked with bloody execution…/ Till he unseam’d him from the nave to the chops” (I.i.16-22). The captain, a heroic figure
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