Symbolism in Macbeth

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Symbolism in The Scottish Play In this dark play, the symbol of blood becomes quite apparent. Not only is this dire word mentioned over forty times, but it is also a driving and reoccurring figure that greatly affects a number of characters. Both Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth, deeply feel the guilt and sin that is caused by this symbol. Blood is a haunting stain that symbolically does not leave the hands of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as it drives them to their downfall. The idea of blood in other works and novels typically evokes the idea of slaughter and massacre. However, in this play the blood symbolizes the guilt that will forever stain the palms of Macbeth and his wife. The simple act of murder that was once looked at as indifferent led to a devastating past. Macbeth expresses his guilt when he remarks, “And with thy bloody and invisible hand/ Cancel and tear to pieces that great bond/ Which keeps me pale” (3.3.48-50). Macbeth is scared by the blood of Duncan. However, the blood may not be seen by others since it is only figurative. It is the eternal reminder to those characters of the terrible sin that they have committed. This symbol functions as a figurative tattoo that may not be removed from the hands. It drives Lady Macbeth to insanity that will eventually bring her to her collapse. This blood acts as a symbol that foreshadows the pain that Macbeth and his wife will later receive. Without this element in the play, there would not be a driving force that leads the characters to devastation. This appalling icon hounds them to their grave. Not only does this symbol contribute as a function in the work, but also reveals many sides of Lady Macbeth and her husband. The blood that has been shed upon Lady Macbeth’s hands has revealed a side to the reader that has not been seen before. It is quite evident that the Lady is motivated by

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