how does the motif of blood help to develop themes and characters in Macbeth?i know that it helps develop guilt in macbeth and lady macbeth but i was just confused on what other themes it affected...

how does the motif of blood help to develop themes and characters in Macbeth?

i know that it helps develop guilt in macbeth and lady macbeth but i was just confused on what other themes it affected and what other characters all help would be appreciated.

Asked on by vball123

2 Answers | Add Yours

Top Answer

fezziwig's profile pic

fezziwig | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Assistant Educator

Posted on

Macbeth is a bloody play from beginning to end, so most of the themes and the characters are developed by the "blood" motif, and Shakespeare wastes no time in developing Macbeth's character with the blood motif. We are introduced to Macbeth by a bloody soldier who describes Macbeth's bloody heroic deeds in a most bloody fashion; he describes the following to King Duncan:

"... with his brandished steel

Which smoked with bloody execution,

Like valor's minion carved out his passage

Till he faced [Macdowald]

Which ne'er shook hands not bade farewell too him

Till he unseamed him from the nave to th' chops

And fixed his head upon our battlement (I. ii. 17-23).

We are given quite a gruesome image of Macbeth splitting the body of Madonwald in half and then decapitating him; these are some extreme fighting skills; he is a butchering warrior who destroys his enemy, it seems, in an act of valor for country and king, but the butchering of Macdonwald also suggests that Macbeth is a glory seeker; Macbeth is becoming famous, for the description certainly has caused such a stir, particularly from King Duncan.

Blood imagery is used to develop Lady Macbeth's character as well. After the murder of King Duncan, and Macbeth returns to his chamber with the bloody daggers, Lady Macbeth takes them back to the murder scene, and while she is there, she "gild[s] the faces of the grooms" with the blood of King Duncan, something that Macbeth failed to do, and when she returns to her chamber, she scolds Macbeth by saying that "[her] hands are of your color, but I shame / To wear a heart so white" (II. ii. 63-64). Lady Macbeth's hands are covered with the blood of King Duncan, revealing just how ruthless and guiltless she is; but it also reveals just how manipulative she is. By stating that her hands are the same "color" as Macbeth's, she is admitting to the crime and is Macbeth's partner, but what Shakespeare wants us to see in this revelation in Lady Macbeth's shaming of Macbeth for having such a "white" heart is just how evil she is. The shaming of Macbeth by Lady Macbeth for murdering King Duncan, certainly echoes the theme of "fair is foul, and foul is fair" (I. i. 10).

ali001's profile pic

ali001 | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Salutatorian

Posted on

First of all you need to understand the meanig of Motif which is a distinctive and recurring form, shape or figure. this is what created the guilt of Macbeth and (not so much for)  Lady Macbeth.

I HOPE it helps 

We’ve answered 318,929 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question