|Term Paper Title
||Macbeth: The Symbol Of Blood
|# of Words
|# of Pages (250 words per page double spaced)
Macbeth: The Symbol of Blood
I am going to prove that in the play Macbeth, a symbol of blood is
portrayed often(and with different meanings), and that it is a symbol that is
developed until it is the dominating theme of the play towards the end of it.
To begin with, I found the word "blood", or different forms of it forty-two
times (ironically, the word fear is used forty-two times), with several other
passages dealing with the symbol. Perhaps the best way to show how the symbol
of blood changes throughout the play, is to follow the character changes in
Macbeth. First he is a brave honoured soldier, but as the play progresses, he
becomes a treacherous person who has become identified with death and bloodshed
and shows his guilt in different forms.
The first reference of blood is one of honour, and occurs when Duncan sees
the injured sergeant and says "What bloody man is that?". This is symbolic of
the brave fighter who been injured in a valiant battle for his country. In the
next passage, in which the sergeant says "Which smok'd with bloody execution",
he is referring to Macbeth's braveness in which his sword is covered in the hot
blood of the enemy.
After these few references to honour, the symbol of blood now changes to
show a theme of treachery and treason. Lady Macbeth starts this off when she
asks the spirits to "make thick my blood,". What she is saying by this, is that
she wants to make herself insensitive and remorseless for the deeds which she is
about to commit. Lady Macbeth knows that the evidence of blood is a treacherous
symbol, and knows it will deflect the guilt from her and Macbeth to the servants
when she says "smear the sleepy grooms with blood.", and "If he do bleed, I'll
gild the faces of the grooms withal, for it must seem their guilt." When Banquo
states "and question this most bloody piece of work," and Ross says "is't known
who did this more than bloody deed?", they are both inquiring as to who
performed the treacherous acts upon Duncan. When Macbeth is speaking about
Malcolm and Donalbain, he refers to them as "bloody cousins"
A final way, and perhaps the most vivid use of the symbol blood, is of the
theme of guilt. First Macbeth hints at his guilt when he says "Will all great
Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?", meaning that he wondered
if he would ever be able to forget the dastardly deed that he had comm...
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