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Word Count: 643
Blood as a Symbol in Macbeth In Macbeth many symbols are used that parallel major themes in the play One of these symbols is blood and the theme that it reinforces is killing and the fear associated with killing Many scenes in the play involving murder also have blood mentioned although not necessarily during the murder The use of blood as a symbol is very important when connected to the theme of killing and is used as a foreshadowing device as well The first time Shakespeare uses blood as a symbol takes place in Act II Scene II when Macbeth is going to kill Duncan He imagines a bloody dagger in front of him pointing towards Duncans room in his castle As Macbeth describes it And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood which was not so beforeIt is the bloody business which now informs thus to mine eyes Act II Scene II 55-58 The blood in this scene foreshadows that Macbeth is about to kill Duncan It also shows his fear about killing Duncan because his mind is playing tricks on him He is developing a guilty conscience although he has not yet committed the murder Another use of blood as a symbol occurs during the feast at Macbeths castle after he has been crowned king and had Banquo killed Macbeth imagines the bloody ghost of Banquo sitting in his spot at the table He says Never shake thy gory locks at me Act III Scene IV 64-65 This describes the blood on the ghost Lady Macbeth also mentions the air-drawn dagger that Macbeth saw before killing Duncan Macbeths fear and guilty conscience from his killings is rising steadily While he is killing for his own purposes he does not realize how much it is hurting him mentally His images of bloody ghosts and knives are evidence of this as Macbeth is unable to keep a clear mind This is
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