Colours in MacbethWhat are the symbols of colours in Macbeth?

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vangoghfan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Among the most famous lines in Macbeth are the lines in which Macbeth feels so polluted with blood after having killed the king that he thinks he can never be clean again:

57 Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood
58 Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
59 The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
60 Making the green one red.

The superb final juxtaposes green -- a color usually associated with nature and with life -- with red (a color associated in this play with death and with bloodshed). Macbeth imagines that he is so corrupted by his crime that he will make all the oceans red if he merely sticks his hand into the sea.

accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Clearly the colour red is significant throughout the play to represent the blood that Macbeth shed in committing the terrible crime of regicide and doing away with Duncan. This acts as a constant reminder of his guilt, and the quote highlighted in #3 clearly shows that even after the blood has been washed away, Macbeth's hands will remain stained for long after.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two main colors in Macbeth are red and white. Red symbolizes both the murders which take place in the play and the guilt which accompanies the guilty. White, on the other hand, is associated with innocence. Lady Macbeth illustrates the use of this color representing innocence through her references to mother's milk and kindness.

litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator
Black is another symbolic color. At night is when black deeds happen, under the color of black. Witches are black, as is their cauldron. Macbeth centers around curses and prophecies, warnings of danger, as well as betrayal and revenge. Black all around.
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