Symbolism in Macbeth





In William Shakespear\'s Macbeth, symbolism is often used to help the overall theme of murder. There are several obvious forms of this throughout the play. The light and dark contrast throughout the play represents good and evil. Blood symbolizes murder and guilt. The pattern of cleaning blood by water is used several times in the play, particularly in the murder scenes. Symbolism is used widely to display the general topic of evil.

Light and dark represent good and evil in the play. The time period in which Macbeth was written, the king was associated with the sun. The sunset symbolized the king’s death or overthrow. The quotes "When shall we three meet again. . . " and "That will be ere the set of sun." (I. i. 1,4) foreshadow the king\'s death. This kind of imagery of light and dark is used again throughout the play. "Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires." (I. iv. 50-51) shows Macbeth turning evil. Most of the murders or unusual events in Macbeth occur in the dark. The murders, Lady Macbeth\'s
sleepwalking, and the witches’ hypothesis all take place at night. Lady Macbeth\'s sleepwalking scene is the most obvious of the light/darkness symbol. She once loved the darkness but now carries a candle to lighten it. The line, "She has light by her continually; \'tis her command." (V. i. 19), symbolizes Lady Macbeth\'s fear of darkness or evil.

The image of blood plays an important role when Duncan is murdered. It represents Macbeth\'s guilt and shame about the murder. After killing the king, Macbeth comments on his blood stained hands by saying, "As they had seen me with these hangman\'s hands." (II. ii. 28) Macbeth does not want to return to where he murdered Duncan to smear blood on the guards, because he is scared blood will somehow come back to haunt him. Macbeth feels uncomfortable with blood on his hands. He immediately tries to remove it after killing the guards.

The pattern of cleaning blood by water is used several times in the play. It symbolizes the removal of guilt. After the murder of Duncan, Lady Macbeth reassures her husband by telling him, "A little water clears us of the deed"; (I. ii. 67) Later in the play, Lady Macbeth rubs her hands together, representing washing her hands. She hopes that this will to clear her conscience by removing the "spot" from her hand, as she says, "Out, damned spot! out, I say! . . . " (V. i. 31) Water symbolizes the cleaning of a guilty conscience.

Symbolism plays an important role in Shakespear\'s Macbeth. It is used
In a number of different forms to relate the overall theme of murder to the actions of
Macbeth. Light and darkness represent good and evil. Blood represents Macbeth\'s and his wife\'s guilt about Duncan\'s murder. Water symbolizes cleaning of the conscience. These symbols effectively portray the theme of murder in Macbeth.