|Term Paper Title
||PATTERNS OF IMAGERY IN MACBETH
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|# of Pages (250 words per page double spaced)
PATTERNS OF IMAGERY IN MACBETH
Shakespeare's Macbeth is full of different types of imagery. Many of these images are themes that run throughout the entire play at different times. Five of these images are nature, paradoxes, manhood, masks and light vs. darkness.
"Thunder and lightning." This is the description of the scene before Act I, Scene i, Line 1. The thunder and lightning represent disturbances in nature. Most people do not think of a great day being filled with thunder and lightning. The witches are surrounded by a shroud of thunder and lightning. Also, the first witch asks in Line 2 about the meeting with Macbeth, "In thunder, lightning, or in rain?" The meeting will also be filled with these disturbances. The witches are also surrounded by more unpleasant kinds of weather: "Hover through the fog and filthy air" (Line 11). The weather might personify the witches, meaning that the witches themselves are disturbances, though not limited to nature. The bad weather also might mean that the witches are bad or foul ("filthy air") creatures.
In Act II, Scene i, it is a dark night. Fleance says, "The moon is down" (Line 2), and Banquo says, "Their (Heaven's) candles are all out (there are no stars in the sky)." (Line 5) Darkness evokes feelings of evilness, of a disturbance in nature on this fateful night. It creates a perfect scene for the baneful murders.
Another disturbance in nature comes from Macbeth's mouth, "Now o'er the one half-world / Nature seems dead" (Lines 49 - 50). This statement might mean that everywhere he looks, the world seems dead (there is no hope). It might also give him the idea that the murder he is about to commit will have repercussions spreading far. The doctor says in Act V, Scene i, Line 10, "A great perturbation in nature," while talking about Lady Macbeth's sleepwalking. This is just another example of how nature is disturbed by human doings, placing emphases on mankind (following the Humanistic philosophy).
The witches' chorus on Act I, Scene i, Line 10: "Fair is foul, and foul is fair,"
is a paradox. It is also a prophecy, where one thing seems like another (the characters of the play), or about how things will change through the story (again the characters). Being so early in the play, it is a good "grabber" for the reader. Since it isn't a simple statement, it makes the reader think about the line to find some meaning for themselves. It is easier to grasp a meaning of this line further along in the book.
This theme is subtle, but not with out meaning. It is referred to again and again throughout the play, adding new lines, or analyzing characters and events using the theme.
The first thing that Macbeth says when he enters Scene iii (Line 38) is, "So foul and fair a day I have not seen." It is not likely that when the witches said "Fair is foul, and foul is fair," during Scene I, they were just referring to the condition of the day when they meet Macbeth. There is much more, that will be seen later throughout the play.
"Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here," says Lady Macbeth (Act I, Scene v, Lines 41 - 42). She wishes to be like a man. Why? What does Lady Macbeth envision a man as being like? "And fill me, from the crown to the toe, top-full / Of direst cruelty! Make thick my blood, / Stop up th' access and passage to remorse, / That no compunctions visitings of nature / Shake my fell purpose, not keep peace bet...
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