"Discuss the role that blood plays in Macbeth and how it is significant"

Essay by c_loo97High School, 10th grade September 2014

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"Discuss the role that blood plays in Macbeth and how it is significant"

By Celeste Loo

The recurring motif of blood is a significant role in Macbeth. Shakespeare's superb imagery of blood is essential in captivating the flaws and sinful nature of all man - a fundamental principle of a Shakespearean tragedy that is clearly evident in Macbeth. Not only does it captivate the fearfully thrilling storyline of the play but blood also represents the fall of a man, once regarded as a hero.

One of the ways in which blood plays a significant role in Macbeth, is in how it reflects Macbeth's characteristics. The play begins with a battle against rebel forces in which Macbeth distinguishes himself as a valiant and loyal warrior. In this way, blood represents the ruthlessness and bravery he has displayed in battle. The first mention of blood, in which Duncan encounters a bloody captain returning from the war, ("What bloody man is that? He can report, As seemeth by his plight, of the revolt the newest state" Act I Scene II), also foreshadows the violence that is to come.

In Act II, Scene II, Lady Macbeth urges her husband to "wash this filthy witness from your hand", after he has murdered King Duncan. The use of unrhymed iambic pentameter in this line puts an emphasis on Lady Macbeth's belief that the evidence of murder can be removed. However Macbeth asks "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?", realising that there are deeper ramifications of what he has done. Although he is metaphorically speaking, blood also reflects the inevitable consequences of evil, leaving traces of the crimes that have been committed. In this way, blood is also a metaphor which reveals a fundamental attitude...