William Shakespeare
Contributed by Sharon Fleming
Symbols are objects or figures that artists use to represent an idea.
Blood is a repeated symbol in Macbeth, with the play opening with the battle between the Scots and the Norwegian invaders in Act 1, scene 2. Blood also symbolizes the guilt that Macbeth and Lady Macbeth feel as a result of their actions, and they begin to see their crimes as bloodstains that cannot be washed - \“Will all great Neptune\’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?\” The symbolism of being stained is clearest perhaps in Macbeth\’s murder of Duncan, even as his wife scolds him and says that a little water will do the job (2.2.58–59). She eventually shares his horrified sense of being stained as in \“Out, damned spot\; out, I say... who would have thought the old man to have had so much blood in him?\” (5.1.30–34).
As in other Shakespearean tragedies, Macbeth\’s 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 storms that accompany Duncan\’s murder - these unnatural occurrences mirror the corruption in the moral and political orders occurring in the scenes.
Have study documents to share about Macbeth? Upload them to earn free Studypool credits!