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.

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fezziwig eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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).

reidalot eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The motif of blood develops many themes in Macbeth such as ambition, evil, and violence. One of the main themes is the development of evil in the human heart that leads to moral deterioration.

Shakespeare begins the motif of blood at the very onset of the play when we are first introduced to Macbeth's victory when Duncan asks: "What bloody man is that?" (act 1, scene 2, 19). Even though the blood is from that victory, it sets the stage for the bloody deeds to come that lead to Macbeth's corruption as he is given the title of Thane of Cawdor: his ambition is sparked.

As the events proceed, the witches spur on Macbeth's decline into evil with their predictions. King Duncan is murdered by Macbeth and Lady Macbeth's character is revealed when she tells Macbeth, "...and smear the sleepy grooms with blood" (Act II, Scene 2, 709-710). She becomes an accessory to the crime, and her guilt is insured.

Again, blood is integral to the play, reinforcing the theme of violence when Ross asks, "Is't known who did this more than bloody deed?" (act 2, scene 4, 974). By now, the scene is set for Macbeth's steady decline with the murders of Banquo and Macduff's wife and children. As Macbeth says to himself: "It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood" (act 3, scene 4, 1425).

Through the motif of blood, the theme of the moral decline of a once brave warrior and his wife is illustrated in this work. Lady Macbeth commits suicide and Macbeth is told by Macduff he will capture him and proclaim to all: "Here may you see the tyrant" (act 4, scene 8, 2505). Macbeth fights to the death and is slain. In this way, ambition, violence, and evil become themes interwoven with blood as a once valiant man is destroyed when he becomes a bloody tyrant.

ali001 | Student

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