Imagery and Symbolism Employed in Macbeth

Imagery and Symbolism Employed in Macbeth

  • Submitted By: beccabooboo
  • Date Submitted: 11/23/2008 3:30 PM
  • Category: English
  • Words: 1170
  • Page: 5
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Macbeth Essay

How does the imagery and symbolism employed in Macbeth contribute to the tone of the text and the development of its major themes?

Imagery and symbolism are both significant to the development of the tone and major themes of guilt and madness reoccurring throughout both the film and text Macbeth. Repeated shots of blood, the washing of hands, disturbed sleep, and the application of lipstick effectively convey the theme of guilt and madness in the film version Macbeth, directed by Mark Brozel. Similarly in the text, imagery of blood and frequent hallucinations are used to reflect guilt as well as madness. The scene where Lady Macbeth sleep walks is another reflection of madness expressed in the text.

To emphasise Macbeth’s guilt in the film Macbeth, the director has cleverly crafted a series of repeated shots of blood which depicts a feeling of pain and suffering. When Macbeth, after murdering Duncan, begins to see reoccurring illusions of blood, he slowly becomes insane. These bloody images appear in his everyday life. The first illusion of blood appears when Macbeth opens his fridge door (as he always does in the morning) and takes out a bottle of milk. As Macbeth drinks, drips of blood red milk fall around his face and down his chin. This section of the film is part of a series of repeated shots showing Macbeth drinking milk from his fridge. At the beginning of the film the milk does not appear to be blood but as the play progresses, the milk represents the normal and abnormal behaviour of Macbeth and the stages of Macbeth’s insanity. Earlier in the film, as Macbeth drinks milk, the image is realistic, but as the film progresses the milk turns to blood symbolising that Macbeth is having hallucinations which are a reflection of madness. Blood relates to pain and suffering and therefore symbolises his feelings of guilt towards the murder he committed.

Another example of guilt in relation to blood appears in a section of the film where...

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