A two page essay on symbols which reoccur in Shakespeare's Macbeth

Essay by HoppyReb77High School, 11th gradeA, November 2002

download word file, 2 pages 3.0

Downloaded 23 times

In the play Macbeth Shakespeare uses many reoccurring symbols which eventually become easier and easier for the reader to spot as the play goes on. The symbols are not just random either they are chosen for specific reasons that make the play all that much better. An image and symbol that are used frequently during Macbeth is that of blood and Macbeth being and owl.

The reason blood is used is to connect the image to the murders Macbeth has committed and to show their magnitude. The images of blood throughout the play are large and always related to bodies of water almost filling up with blood:

Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No this my hand will rather

The multitudinous seas incarnadine,

Making the green one red. (2.2.60-63)

Later Macbeth gives up any chance of repentance, while he relates to the murder as a river of blood "[...]

I am in blood/ Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more, /Returning were as tedious as go o'er. (3.5.136-138)"

By relating blood to bodies of water Shakespeare show the enormity of Macbeth's actions that of killing the king and that of completely giving up any chance of salvation.

Shakespeare also uses the owl to represent Macbeth in numerous situations. The reason the owl was chosen to represent Macbeth is because it is a bird of prey which kills animals in order to survive the same way Macbeth killed to survive when he killed Banquo and Young Siward. Since the owl is nocturnal it is associated with the night, which is also consequentially associated with evil, witches, etc; similarly Macbeth is also associated with witches. Shakespeare also is complementing Macbeth also by representing him as an owl because one of the...