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The Image Of Blood In The Play Macbeth - Essay Example

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Shakespeare’s play The Tragedy of Macbeth, as the title suggests, is about a Scottish king and the tragic events surrounding his life. The writer of the paper "The Image Of Blood In The Play Macbeth" analyzes the literary function of the image of blood in the play…
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The Image Of Blood In The Play Macbeth
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Download file to see previous pages His wife doubts that he has the strength and ruthlessness that would be needed to push his way forward and take over the kingship by force. She speculates that his nature is “too full of the milk of human kindness”. This mention of milk is like an opposite to the earlier references to blood, since both are bodily fluids, but blood is connected with injury and death, while milk is connected with nourishment and life. An interesting dimension of this contrast is also that blood has a connotation with guilt, since when people talk about "having blood on their hands" they mean that there is guilt attached to what they do. Milk has connotations of the kindness of motherhood, and the innocence of a newly born baby. What this contrasts shows is that Macbeth, for all his warlike strength in battle, is actually a kind man, with a soft and rather womanly character, unsuited to tasks like cold-blooded murder. There is a key paradox at the center of the play, and this is the fact that Lady Macbeth is the one who plans the bloody execution of King Duncan. It is the woman who reveals the violent streak, while the man Macbeth just does what he is told. He is a weak man when it comes to his wife, and although he carries out the act of murder, it is not his idea.
Lady Macbeth calls on some evil spirits to “make thick my blood” and “take my milk for gall” once again showing the contrast between what is expected of a woman, namely kindness, and what she is planning now namely darkest murder....
Lady Macbeth calls on some evil spirits to “make thick my blood” (I, 5, line 42) and “take my milk for gall” (I,5, line 47) once again showing the contrast between what is expected of a woman, namely kindness, and what she is planning now, namely darkest murder. She taunts Macbeth with weakness and unmanliness, suggesting that he is afraid to do the deed, and so he is forced reluctantly to kill the sleeping king. Just before he does the deed, he has a vision, or a premonition. He sees a ghostly dagger, which is the weapon he plans to use for the murder, and, significantly, he speaks to it directly, noticing “on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,” (2, 1, line 46). This description is very graphic, and shows the horror of the act that he is about to commit. This vision demonstrates that Macbeth knows very well how wrong his murder of the king is, and he is very afraid of the vision of the dagger. He could theoretically have stopped in his tracks there, realizing the enormity of the deed, but he chooses not to, and carries on doing what has been planned by his wife. This shows that he willingly fulfils the mission, and therefore is as guilty as she is. After the murder has been completed, Macbeth is immediately struck by a feeling of intense guilt. He expresses this in terms of a desire for “all great Neptune’s ocean” (II, 2, line 58) to wash away the blood on his hand. He imagines the blood on his hands to be so plentiful that instead of being washed away by the sea, it turns the sea red. This shows that he appreciates the enormity of his crime, and that he finds it impossible to come to terms with his own guilt. The blood on his hands signifies his guilt, ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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