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Blood as a Corespondent to Guilt

In: English and Literature

Submitted By hgshapiro
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Blood as a Correspondent to Guilt

William Shakespeare has written many plays throughout his life. His words are eloquent, his characters are dramatic, and his style is treasured. In Shakespeare’s Macbeth, blood is a reoccurring symbol. Shakespeare made the connection between blood and guilt; blood flows through our veins all around our body, it is a part of us. Even though guilt is not physically a part of us, we create it in ourselves. Blood is the physical representation of guilt as it symbolizes the irreversible effects of murder on the human mind. Guilt is the downfall of order and sanity. Even before murder, guilt consumes Macbeth’s mind causing him to hallucinate. Macbeth sees “gouts of blood” (II.1.46) on this “dagger of [his] mind” (II.1.38) as he is walking towards Duncan’s chamber to murder Duncan. Macbeth, at first, thinks the dagger is “a false creation, /Proceeding from [his] heat-oppressed brain” (II.1.38/39), but as he continues down the hall he then starts to feel it is not his sick brain, but it is the “bloody business” (II.1.49) of murder which causes this dagger to appear. This reveals that Macbeth is already emotionally unstable from Duncan’s murder even before one drop of blood is spilt from his body. Furthermore, Macbeth’s state of mind after the killing was so exceedingly erratic due to the guilt he felt that he forgets to frame the guards for the murder. Macbeth returns to Lady Macbeth, from Duncan’s room, to let her know that he has “done the deed.” (II.2.14) However, Lady Macbeth, upon seeing the daggers Macbeth had brought back, instructs him to “Go carry them and smear /The sleepy [bodyguards] with blood.” (II.2.52-53) Macbeth refuses to go back for the reason that he is “afraid [of]…what [he] has done” (II.2.54) and he is unable to “Look on’t again” (II.2.55). Macbeth cannot stand the site of the blood because it reminds...

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