Symbolism Of Blood In Macbeth Essay

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Blood is a reoccurring element in the play Macbeth by William Shakespeare, which opens with the treacherous battle between the Scots and Norwegian invaders, described by the wounded and bloody captain in Act 1, scene 2. Blood initially symbolized heroism, valor, and bravery, but as the play progressed, the actions of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth transformed blood to represent treachery, evil, and guilt. The play begins with a battle between the Scottish kinsmen and the bothersome Norwegian invaders. In this scene, Duncan says to the captain, “what bloody man is that? He can report/ As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt/ The newest state.” (1.2.18-20). This quote exemplifies how blood represented heroism in the beginning of the play. The…show more content…
Macbeth quotes, “will it not be received/ When we have mark’d with blood those sleepy two/ Of his own chamber and used their very daggers/ That they have done’t? (1.7.75-79), stating that blood is beginning to literally represent guilt, rather then symbolically. By killing Duncan with the guard’s weapons and then smearing blood all over them, Macbeth is framing them, making them guilty by using Duncan’s blood. This quote also depicts Macbeth’s transition from a morally correct ruler to a corrupt and vicious murderer. Before hearing the witch’s prophecy, he was a virtuous and ethical person, but after hearing that he is destined for kingship, he goes on a murderous rampage to gain political power, completely disregarding his previous decency. This is similar to how Oedipus was originally a just ruler, until he hears that he is the reason for the plague upon Thebes, which he is unable to believe because he is blinded by pride and arrogance similar to how Macbeth is blinded by the quest for supremacy. At this point in the play, blood, as well as Macbeth, has made the complete transformation from symbolizing virtue, courage, and integrity, and instead represents guilt, murder, and

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