Motif Of Blood In Macbeth Essay

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In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the titular Scottish thane of Glamis backstabs his way to the throne of Scotland. Macbeth, like many of Shakespeare’s plays, utilizes a recurring symbol, which is, in this case, blood. The common idioms “blood on [one’s] hands” and “caught red-handed” express a notion of culpability. Likewise, Shakespeare uses the motif of blood to convey the original theme of the play -- acting against one’s own morals bears heavily on their conscience. At the play’s beginning, Macbeth is the personification of a character slated to become a tragic hero. Some would say that he “had it all”, so to speak -- power, money, land and a wife. However, he naïvely follows the witches’ prophecy, despite the evil associated with witch lore, a prominent part of early English mythology. This causes him to think of how the prophecy would be fulfilled, thus leading him to the obvious conclusion -- he would kill or incapacitate both King Duncan and his sons. Despite his initial doubts, he continues to plot against his leader, to whom he has been loyal for much of his life. When he kills the incumbent King, he immediately feels overcome with disgrace. He did not think that “all Great Neptune’s ocean [would] wash [King Duncan’s] blood clean from [his] hand”. (II.ii)…show more content…
He, too, had blood on him, but it is not on his hands. As a professional killer, it is more likely that he did the job cleanly, unlike the two Macbeths. It also means that he was likely less burdened by the slaughter than them. The location of the blood also has a deeper meaning; the absence of blood on the murderer’s hands, which were covered with proverbial/literal blood on Lady Macbeth/Macbeth, respectively, shows that no blame can be placed on him. Instead, all the guilt is placed squarely on the shoulders of the one who hired him to murder one of their closest friends --

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