Macbeth By Shakespeare Essay Research Paper William

Macbeth By Shakespeare Essay, Research Paper

William Shakespeare once said, “For I have sworn thee fair, and thought thee bright, who

art as black as hell, as dark as night.” Deception plays a big part in the play Macbeth. The

play is about a king who is murdered by one of his most trusted men trying to gain power.

During the play Shakespeare heightens the mood by using various accounts of imagery.

The blood and night imagery that Shakespeare uses adds to the evil, darkness and

deception surrounding the play.

Night has a role of great importance during the play. Lady Macbeth beckons,

“Come, thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, That my keen knife see not

the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry “Hold,

hold!” Without the obscurity of night, she would not have urged Macbeth to kill the king

as she did. The night, however, gives her the impression that Macbeth can indeed kill King

Duncan with no one uncovering his contemptible crime, the same idea that Macbeth had

when he said, “Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires” It

seems as if the whole plot revolves around the night and the many roles it holds

throughout the play.

Shakespeare often uses darkness and storms to depict that evil happenings are

occurring or are about to take place. There are at least three examples of this in Macbeth.

Most of the evil things that Macbeth does in the story occurs in the nighttime. Lennox

states, “… the obscure bird Clamored the livelong night. Some say, the earth Was

feverous and did shake,” in reaction to Macbeth’s first evil act, killing the king of Scotland.

“The night has been unruly: where we lay, Our chimneys were blown down; and, as they

say, Lamentings heard i’ the air; strange screams of death,…” “Three score and ten I can

remember well; Within the volume of which time I have seen Hours of dreadful and things

strange, but this sore night Hath trifled former knowings.” Both these quotes are talking

about the night of Duncan’s death. They are showing the comparisons between the natural

unruliness and the unusual disaster.

In the play, the word “blood” is mentioned numerous times. Shakespeare’s use of

this particular word is significant; he uses it to develop the character of Macbeth and the

unfolding events of the drama. The powerful symbolic meaning of blood changes from the

beginning to the end. Before Duncan’s murder, Macbeth imagines seeing a dagger floating

in the air before him. He describes it, “And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,

Which was not so before. There’s no such thing: It is the bloody business which informs

Thus to mine eyes.” This blood imagery refers to treason, ambition, and murder. Blood,

once seen as a positive value, is now associated with evil.

After the murder of Duncan, Macbeth begins to realize the severity of his crime as

he tries to wash Duncan’s blood off his hands, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this

blood Clean from my hand? No; this hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine,

Making the green one red.” Macbeth laments that not even all the water in the ocean will

wash the blood off his hands, he is beginning to realize the magnitude of his crime, and

that he has done something truly evil.

Shortly after Macbeth sees the ghost of the murdered Banquo at his feast, he goes

into a state of shock and has to be escorted back to his chamber by Lady Macbeth. He

tells Lady Macbeth before he goes to sleep, “All causes shall give way: I am in blood

Stepp’d in so far that, should I wade no more, Returning were as tedious as go o’er:”

Macbeth has now entered so far into hell and the world of evil, it is impossible for him to

return to righteousness. He will be forced to kill more and more people in order to retain

control of the throne. The sins he has committed have not only perverted his virtuous life,

but have condemned him to an eternity in hell. There is no chance of redemption; he has

permanently allied himself with the forces of evil. Like her husband, the once ambitious

Lady Macbeth finally realizes the significance of associating herself in the murder plot, and

the severe consequences it will bring. Tormented by nightmares, she sleepwalks through

her bedroom and cries, “What, will these hands ne’er be clean?…Here’s the smell of the

blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.” The blood imagery

exhibits Lady Macbeth’s guilt over Duncan’s murder. Her hallucinations of blood on her

hands and her constant efforts to wash it off demonstrate that the agony of having guilty

feelings is causing her to go insane.

In the play’s final scene, Macduff confronts Macbeth to avenge the murders of his

children and his wife at Macbeth’s hand, and to see Malcolm established as the rightful

King. As Malcolm sees Macbeth, he exclaims, “I have no words: My voice is in my sword,

thou bloodier villain Than terms can give thee out!” Shakespeare uses this blood imagery

to enhance the complete transformation of Macbeth. He begins as a noble, just and brave

person, to becoming evil, ambitious, and treacherous during Duncan’s murder, to his final

feelings of remorse for his crime and finally, to the realization that he will be punished for

his sins.

Words can have a very powerful influence on the effectiveness of a play. Not

necessarily the words used but how they are used. Shakespeare takes two words, night

and blood, and uses them to turn Macbeth into the play it is, full of deception, greed, and

murderous deeds.

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