Use of Blood Imagery in Macbeth

Essay by Neelum April 2002

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William Shakespeare uses many techniques to liven the intensity, and the excitement in his plays. In the play of MacBeth, Shakespeare uses blood imagery to add a sense of fear, guilt, shame, insanity, and anger to the atmosphere. The use of blood imagery allows the audience to vision in their minds the crime scene where Duncan was murdered, as well as the scene where Lady MacBeth tries to cope with the consequences of her actions. The talk and sight of blood has a great impact on the strength and depth of the use of blood imagery.

MacBeth's soliloquy in Act 2 scene 1 gives the reader a description of how Duncan will be murdered. "I see thee still, and on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, which was not so before." MacBeth is talking about what he will see when he will have murdered Duncan. The image given is a sharp dagger covered in thick blood from the tip to the dudgeon.

Dudgeon is the tilt of the dagger. You can just imagine how deep the wounds of Duncan are, how Duncan's body will resemble after multiple stabs, his blood emerging from his body.

Both MacBeth and Lady MacBeth react differently from seeing so much blood and killing innocent men, women, and children. Lady MacBeth, in the fifth act, has become overwhelmed with guilt that she has gone insane. "Out, dammed spot! Out, I say! One- two- why then tis' time to do 't. Hell is murky.- Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?" Lady MacBeth is in fear that someone would accuse MacBeth and...