Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Macbeth: Blood Imagery

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Evil is a destructive force; it causes harm to those who embrace it and

their victims. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, the protagonist Macbeth and Lady

Macbeth fall into the hands of evil. Evil is what drives people to commit unnatural

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actions of destruction. Macbeth succumbs to evil through his fatal flaw, greed,

and it causes him to hurt others and ultimately, himself. When Macbeth willingly

murders, massacres, lies and deceives, he loses his heath and sanity. Evil

corrupts everything it touches, and Macbeth decides to be evil’s servant. But,

when Macbeth embraces evil, it corrupts him, and it ultimately destroys him as

well. Lady Macbeth is a victim of Macbeth’s fatal flaw, since she is drawn in, and

becomes greedy for power herself. She pushes Macbeth into destruction when

she adds the small touch that plunges Macbeth into a chain of murder,

destruction, and lying followed by the loss of their sanity and health. After

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are well into the depths of corruption and greed, it is

clearly seen that their guilt will haunt them for the rest of their lives. The harm

they have caused others will be returned to them as revenge and they have lost

their sanity in order to gain power. The fate of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth

clearly illustrates that to embrace evil is to negate our own need for order and

well being.

By embracing evil, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth have committed unnatural

actions that disturb them. Their guilt does not leave them in peace, and slowly

degrades their health. Macbeth’s guilt causes him to act strangely in front of his

guests, and it disturbs him deeply. Macbeth’s guilt is deeply mutilated, and it only

affects him when he hallucinates “Take any shape but that, and my firm nerves /

Shall never tremble” (III.iv.14-15), and as soon as his visions disappear he

feels better “Why so, being gone, / I am a man again.- Pray you sit still”

(iii.iV.10-11), not something normal considering the actions he has committed.

His guilt paralyzes him when he does feel it, but most of the time he is guiltless,

and that encourages him to commit more murder. Although his guilt does not

ultimately destroy him, it is a factor that brings his own men against him, since

through his guilt he reveals the actions he has committed. The lords grow

suspicious as he speaks to his hallucinations, and they inquire on his conflict

“What sights, my lord?”(III.iv.14). Macbeth does not attempt to conceal his guilt

as strongly as Lady Macbeth does, and this is what protects him from it. Macbeth

releases his remorse by speaking to Lady Macbeth, and through his

hallucinations. “I could not say ‘Amen’ / When they did say ‘God bless us’.”

(II.ii.-40) “But wherefore could not I pronounce ‘Amen’?”(II.ii.4). Macbeth

expresses his guilt to Lady Macbeth after he returns from the murdered king’s

room. Lady Macbeth does not show guilt throughout the play until her death,

which proves that her overwhelming guilt is what killed her. As is seen by her

sleepwalking, Lady Macbeth felt guilty of her actions and she replays the events

that trouble her during her sleep. “The thane of Fife had a wife. Where is / she

now? What, will these hands ne’er be clean?” (V.i.44-45). Lady Macbeth bottles

her guilt throughout the play, and its overflow is what drives her to commit

suicide. There are glimpses of Lady Macbeth’s guilt, although she attempts to

conceal it. Just before Duncan’s murder is committed, Lady Macbeth shows

remorse, and thus proves that the degradation of her conscience begins early in

the play. She exclaims “Had he not resembled my father as he slept, I had done

‘t.” (II.ii.16-17). She speaks of Duncan, minutes before his dreaded murder, but

does not reveal her guilt to anyone, since she is alone on stage (soliloquy). Lady

Macbeth’s overflowing compunction seeks for escape, and the only exit it finds is

her sleep. Since Macbeth provides an outlet for his guilt through his

hallucinations and his wife, it does not consume him, but it does bring suspicion

into his allies. Lady Macbeth pretends to be strong and hides her guilt, which

ultimately destroys her. In conclusion, the evil actions that each has caused

burdens them with guilt, that harm them in distinct ways.

Macbeth’s evil actions destroy his victim’s lives, and their family’s, and

because of this, it was bound to happen that someone destroyed Macbeth in

revenge. Thus, it is serving evil that ultimately ends Macbeth’s being. Macbeth

kills Banquo and even if there is no direct reply from Banquo’s sons or family, it

is known in Scottish history that they become kings. Macbeth murders Duncan,

and sets the blame of his action on Malcolm and Donalbain. Obviously, they do

not sit still Macbeth abuses what is rightfully theirs, and they set off to different

countries to seek for help.

“The son of Duncan

(from whom this tyrant holds the due of birth)

Lives in the English court and received

Of the most pious Edward with such grace

That the malevolence of fortune nothing

Takes from his high respect. (III.vi.8-)

Then they return with an English army, which ultimately brings Macbeth’s

destruction. Duncan’s murder also turns his lords against him, and when the time

of the battle comes, they desert him. His people, obviously not content with his

rule also desert him, and when the opposing army arrives at Dunsinane hill,

Macbeth’s army leaves. “Where they not forced with those that should be

ours,”(V.v.5). Macbeth has lost “honor, love, obedience, troops of friends”

(V.iii.), because of his evil deeds, and this is what physically ends Macbeth.

Feeling anger towards Macduff for having fled, Macbeth murders his whole

family, and makes Macduff a powerful enemy. When Malcolm returns from

England with an army, Macduff is there, as are most of the Lords of Scotland.

But Macduff searches for Macbeth with the sole purpose of avenging his family.

They fight and Macduff is victorious, he slays Macbeth, and proclaims Malcolm

the rightful king of Scotland. As a result of his abuse on his people and his evil

actions Macbeth’s reign is brought to an end. For having followed evil, Macbeth

is killed...

Everything Macbeth and Lady Macbeth have done has scarred them

mentally, and they each show it differently. Macbeth has lost all moral values,

and because of that, the only way his morals are expressed are through his

spontaneous visions. Lady Macbeth has lost her capability to express concern,

or worry, since she hardened herself to get through Duncan’s murder, and her

outlet is during her sleep. We witness Macbeth’s first illusion as soon as he

commits the murder, and he tells Lady Macbeth,

“Methought I heard a voice cry ‘Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder

sleep’- the innocent sleep,

Sleep that knits up the raveled sleave of care,

The death of each day’s life, sore labor’s bath,

Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course,

Chief nourisher of life in feast. “ (II.ii.47-5)

And after she replies confounded, “What do you mean?”(II.ii.5) he goes on

about this voice, “Still it cried ‘Sleep no more!’ to all the house. / ‘Glamis hath

murdered sleep, and therefore Cawdor / Shall sleep no more. Macbeth shall

sleep no more’. ”(II.ii.54-56). This is the first proof of Macbeth’s resurgent

conscience, that expresses itself through hallucinations. Macbeth knows that this

deed will bother him forever. Lady Macbeth embraces evil earlier than Macbeth,

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