Essay, Research Paper: Macbeth By Shakespeare

Shakespeare: Macbeth

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Though only written in three weeks and full of loose ends, Shakespeare’s
Macbeth is full of the lessons of life. There are also many themes included in
this play, some being animals, clothing, darkness, and blood. Blood is one of
the largest themes in the play. It’s used frequently but it is used for more
than one metaphor. The use of blood is what gives the play feeling of foul play
and darkness. It (blood) is woven all through the play. "What bloody man is
that?" (Act 1. Scene 2. Line 1). In these, the opening words of the play's
second scene, a sergeant then tells the story of Macbeth's heroic victories over
Macdonwald and the King of Norway. The sergeant's telling of the story is in
itself heroic, because his loss of blood has made him weak. Thus his blood and
his heroism seem to enhance the picture of Macbeth as a hero. As Lady Macbeth
plans to kill King Duncan, she calls upon the spirits of murder to "make
thick my blood; / Stop up the access and passage to remorse" (Act 1. Scene
5. Lines 43-44). Lady Macbeth wants to poison her soul, so that she can kill
without remorse. Just before he kills King Duncan, Macbeth is staring at the
"dagger of the mind," and as he does so, thick drops of blood appear
on the blade and hilt. He says to the knife, I see thee still, / And on thy
blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, / Which was not so before" (Act 2. Scene
1. Lines 45-47). However, he's not so far gone that he doesn't know what's
happening to him: "There's no such thing: / It is the bloody business which
informs / Thus to mine eyes" (Act 2. Scene 1. Lines 47-49). Of course the
"bloody business" is the murder he's about to commit. He asks himself
if all the water in the world can wash away the blood: "Will all great
Neptune's ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand?" (Act 2. Scene 2.
Lines 57-60.) And he answers his own question: "No, this my hand will
rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red"
(Act 2. Scene 2. Lines 57-61). In contrast, his wife thinks his obsession with
blood shows that he's a coward. She dips her hands in the dead King's blood, and
smears the grooms with that blood, then tells Macbeth that "My hands are of
your colour; but I shame / To wear a heart so white" (Act 2. Scene 2. Lines
61-62). She means that now her hands are bloody, like his, but she would be
ashamed to have a "white" -- bloodless and cowardly -- heart like his.
She leads him away to wash his hands, and she seems quite sure that "A
little water clears us of this deed" (Act 2. Scene 2. Line 64). Ironically,
when she later goes mad, she sees blood on her hands that she cannot wash away,
no matter how much water she uses. Telling Malcolm and Donalbain of their
father's murder, Macbeth says, "The spring, the head, the fountain of your
blood / Is stopp'd; the very source of it is stopp'd" (Act 2. Scene 3.
Lines 98-99). Here, the primary meaning of "your blood" is "your
family," but Macbeth's metaphors also picture blood as a life-giving
essence. A second later, blood is spoken of as a sign of guilt. Lennox says that
it appears that the King was murdered by his grooms, because "Their hands
and faces were all badged [spotted, marked] with blood" (Act 2. Scene 3.
Line 102). In another second, blood appears as the precious clothing of a
precious body, when Macbeth, justifying his killing of the grooms, describes the
King's corpse: "Here lay Duncan, / His silver skin laced with his golden
blood" (Act 2. Scene 3. Line 112). In this scene, the last mention of blood
comes from Donalbain, who says to his brother, "the near in blood, / The
nearer bloody" (Act 2. Scene 3. Lines 140-141), meaning that as the
murdered King's sons, they are likely to be murdered themselves. It's strangely
dark on the morning after the night of King Duncan's murder, and Ross says to an
Old Man, "Ah, good father, / Thou seest, the heavens, as troubled with
man's act, / Threaten his bloody stage" (Act 2. Scene 4. Lines4-6). The
"stage" is this earth, where we humans play out our lives. Because of
Duncan's murder, the stage is bloody and the heavens are angry. Moments later,
Macduff enters and Ross asks him, "Is't known who did this more than bloody
deed?" (Act 2. Scene 4. Line 22). The deed is "more than bloody"
because it is unnatural. King Duncan was a good and kind man whose life
naturally should have been cherished by everyone. These are only some of many,
many uses of blood in the play. Out of so many different themes in Macbeth,
blood is the largest. Those examples were just up to the end of Act 2, which
shows how much it’s involved in the play’s meaning. Without the use of blood
as a theme Macbeth wouldn’t have been the same. It is also used for more than
one meaning in several instances. This also shows the diversity of the meaning.
Shakespeare was able to weave blood all through the play and thus give it a
feeling of darkness and evil.
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