Macbeth Study Guide: Symbols


By ShakespeareRelease Year: 1623

Symbolism in Macbeth

  1. Blood

 Blood as one of the symbols in Macbeth manifests itself everywhere in the play. It is used to symbolize evil, wars, atrocities, murders, and wickedness. Blood also symbolizes the guilt of some characters such as Macbeth and his wife when they imagine how much blood is in their hands because of the murders they commit. In a way, blood is used to stain the conscience of people who do evil. It is also used to show the consequences of evil acts by some characters.

  1. Weather and nature

Nature is seen to play an important role by controlling the weather in the play. Wind and lightning have been depicted to have a rebellious and distractive nature. This symbolizes the disorder that exists in a society when people put their ambitions above morality. The weather appears to be reacting to Macbeth’s atrocities. The rebellious nature of the weather is intended to symbolize that society is going against morality.

  1. Darkness and light

Light symbolizes the presence of life, goodness, peace, and God whereas darkness symbolizes death, evil, destruction, and the indication that things are about to go wrong. This explains why Lady Macbeth always wants to have a lit candle by her side when things go wrong. Lady Macbeth also beckons for a thick night with smoke from hell so that the bad thing she is about to do, which is murder King Duncan, goes unnoticed.

  1. Clothes

Clothing has been used in the play to symbolize who people truly are or what they aspire to be. For instance, Macbeth does not want to be dressed in borrowed clothes when he is being appointed Thane of Cawdor because he believes new robes would adequately represent the new title he has been given. Clothes here have been used as a symbol of status or title.

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