Re:  Shakesperare's Macbeth--What is a symbol that can accurately describe/represent the character of Macbeth?I would like to find a symbol that is original and out there, apart from all the...

Re:  Shakesperare's Macbeth--What is a symbol that can accurately describe/represent the character of Macbeth?

I would like to find a symbol that is original and out there, apart from all the typical symbols such as daggers and a  crown

2 Answers | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In determining a symbol that represents Macbeth, one may do well to consider the dominant personal traits that have become subverted by the hubris of this tragic character and let the symbol represent the common denominator among all these considerations.  For instance, Macbeth is a formidable warrior, he appreciates friendships, he has aspirations of greatness, he loves his wife, but he believes in the supernatural and he craves power.  It is, indeed, this "vaulting ambition" spurred by Lady Macbeth's attack upon his manhood that propels Macbeth onto his murderous path, blinding him to his loyalties and friendships and love.

With these things in mind, one suggestion for a symbol to represent Macbeth is that of a warrior (or an animal that is representative of bravery or force) wearing a blindfold, whose heart is displayed and blackened. However, if only one item can be used for Macbeth, then the blindfold is, perhaps, the most representative as Macbeth's noble nature and reason are blinded by the preternatural world of the witches as well as his cupidity and masculine pride.

Another idea for a symbol comes from the text of the play in which clothing is alluded to as symbolic of Macbeth. In Act I, Scene 3, after hearing the prophecy of the witches, Macbeth asks them,

.... Why do you dress me
In borrow'd robes?

In further parts of the play and, finally, in Act V, Scene 2, Angus refers to Macbeth's clothing:

Now does he feel his title
Hang loose about him, like a giant's robe
Upon a dwarfish thief.

So, Macbeth can be portrayed as wearing robes that do not fit him. Or a symbol of him can be " the dwarfish thief" itself, whose hands can be bloody.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,911 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question