Show with close reference to the text how Shakespeare effectively uses images of darkness and evil in macbeth

Essay by polac81High School, 11th gradeB, November 2003

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In Macbeth, Shakespeare frequently uses images suggesting darkness and evil. From the environment to the concoctions the witches use the play is loaded with images of darkness and evil.

Blood is everywhere in Macbeth, beginning in the opening battle between the Scots and Norwegian invaders, which is described in harrowing terms by the wounded captain in Act I Scene II:

"except they meant to bathe in reeking wounds

or memorise another Golgotha"

Once Macbeth and Lady Macbeth embark upon their murderous journey, blood comes to symbolise their guilt and they begin to feel that their crimes have stained them in a way that cannot be washed clean.

"will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood

clean from my hand?"

Macbeth cries this after he has killed Duncan, even as his wife scolds him and says that a little water will do the job. Later though she comes to share his horrified sense of being stained:

"Out damn spot; out I say...who


have thought the old man to have so much blood in


Lady Macbeth asks this as she wanders through the halls of their castle near the close of the play (Act V Scene I). She also mutters:

"Here's the smell of the blood still; all the perfumes of

Arabia will not sweeten this little hand."

Obviously if she sprays a little perfume on her hands the supposed smell will vanish but her huge sense of guilt and regret drives her to feel these things.

Blood symbolises the guilt that hounds them to their graves.

The weather also plays a big part in Macbeth. As in other Shakespearean tragedies, Macbeth's grotesque murder spree is accompanied by a number of unnatural occurrences in the natural realm. From the thunder and lightning that accompany the witches' appearances to the terrible...