William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth is full of blood and water. From the murder of Duncan to the final battle, blood is everywhere. And water is used to clean up the mess. But what does all this blood and water mean?
Some say that the blood represents the violence and bloodshed of the play. Others say that it represents life and death. And still others say that it represents the cycle of life itself.
As for the water, some say it represents purification and cleansing. Others say it represents rebirth and new beginnings. Whatever your interpretation, there’s no denying that blood and water are two important symbols in Macbeth.
Many motifs are employed by William Shakespeare in his play Macbeth. Blood and water are two of these motifs. The play is rife with images of blood and water to express the characters’ feelings on their own guilt at each stage. Along with the setting and mood of the drama, both symbols mature and alter in meaning.
The functions of both are crucial if the subtleties of the play are to be comprehended. Blood represents honor, betrayal, and guilt. Cleanliness of the soul is symbolized by water, implying that all it takes is water to wash away guilt. It’s clear from reading the play that blood appears frequently. This has a significant impact on the overall meaning of each usage in the play.
Shakespeare first introduces the blood motif in Macbeth’s very famous “To be, or not to be” soliloquy. In this speech, Macbeth is wondering whether it would be better to end his life or continue living with all the pain and suffering that he has endured. He says, “To die: to sleep; / No more; and by a sleep to say we end / The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks / That flesh is heir to, ’tis a consummation / Devoutly to be wish’d.”
Here, Shakespeare is using blood to represent life itself. To Macbeth, death is just a release from all of the “heart-ache and natural shocks” of life. This is the first time that blood is seen as something negative. Up until this point, blood has always been associated with honor and bravery. In this soliloquy, Shakespeare starts to turn that around.
A few scenes later, we see Macbeth’s wife, Lady Macbeth, scrubbing her hands frantically. She is trying to wash away the imaginary bloodstains that she sees. Of course, there is no actual blood on her hands, but she feels guilty nonetheless. She says, “Out, damned spot! out, I say!— / One: two: why, then ’tis time to do’t.— / Hell is murky!”
In this quote, Lady Macbeth is using water to try and cleanse herself of her guilt. She is trying to wash away the bloodstains, but they are only in her mind. Water is supposed to be pure and cleansing, but it isn’t working for Lady Macbeth. This shows that even water can’t wash away all of the guilt.
Later on in the play, after Macbeth has killed Duncan, we see him talking to himself about the murder. He says, “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood / Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red.”
In this quote, Macbeth is once again trying to use water to wash away his guilt. But just like Lady Macbeth, he finds that it doesn’t work. The bloodstains are still there, no matter how much water he uses. This shows that water can’t always cleanse someone of their guilt.
So, what do these two motifs mean? Blood symbolizes honor, treachery, and guilt. Water symbolizes cleanliness of the soul, as though all it takes is water to wash guilt away. But as we see in the play, sometimes even water can’t wash away all of the guilt.
The character of Lady Macbeth is defined in part by the following lines: When you have eliminated all that remains, it will be only blood. The play contains references to several different forms of blood and its symbolism. The concept of blood strangely follows the development of Macbeth’s character.
Macbeth was once a highly respected soldier under King Duncan. As the play unfolds, Macbeth’s reputation and personality deteriorate, as does the significance of blood. Blood is then seen as a sign for treachery and bloodshed, as well as various types of guilt.
Shakespeare’s use of the word “blood” in Macbeth is significant for several reasons. First, it is a play about a general who kills his king and takes the throne by force. Obviously, blood would be shed during such an event. Second, blood is often seen as a symbol of guilt.
When Macbeth kills Duncan, he gets blood on his hands that he cannot wash off, no matter how much water he uses. This symbolizes the fact that he can never get rid of the guilt from his conscience, no matter how hard he tries. Third, blood is also seen as a symbol of betrayal. In the play, Macbeth betrays his friends, family, and country by killing Duncan and taking the throne. This betrayal is represented by the blood that is shed during the course of the play.
The reference to blood is one of respect in the first instance, when Duncan sees the wounded commander and asks “What bloody man is that?” (I, 2, ln.1). This allusion to blood represents honor because a courageous fighter has been injured in a magnificent and passionate fight for his country. In the following passage, Macbeth!
The next time blood is mentioned it is in a more gruesome way, when Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking she says: “Out, damned spot! out, I say!-One:-two:-why, then ’tis time to do’t.-Hell is murky!”(V, 1, ln.38-41). Lady Macbeth is seeing the bloody hands of her victims that she and her husband have killed in order to gain the throne and she cannot bare to see them any longer.
In this play William Shakespeare has used the color red to symbolize many different things such as honor, anger and rage, betrayal, courage and most importantly guilt. Blood has been used as an effective tool by William Shakespeare in Macbeth to help the reader better understand the characters.
One of the most important symbols in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is blood. Blood represents many things, including murder, guilt, and betrayal. When Macbeth kills Duncan, he gets blood on his hands that cannot be washed off. This symbolizes his guilt for the murder. The symbol of blood is also used to represent betrayal. In Act III, Scene 4, Macbeth sees a dagger floating in the air pointing towards Duncan’s chamber. This is symbolic of the betrayal he is about to commit against Duncan.
In conclusion, Shakespeare’s use of the word “blood” in Macbeth is significant because it is a play about murder, guilt, and betrayal. Blood is used as a symbol for all of these things, and it helps to create a more powerful and effective play.