Macbeth essaysMacbeth: Imagery Helps Us To Understand Its Themes and Characters
For me to answer this essay question I must first find out what
exactly imagery is, to do this I used an Oxford dictionary and this is the
Imagery n. Images collectively; statuary, carving; mental images
collectively; ornate figurative illustration, esp. as used by author for
An image is a picture that the author places in your head by
graphic descriptions about a subject. This image is designed to help the
reader understand the plot or mood or to simply add life to a story.
Shakespeare uses imagery a lot in his books and this imagery also
symbolises a person or a theme in the story.
In the first line of act one scene two Duncan is asking his Lords
who the bloody man stood before him is. He says that judging by his
wounded state he could tell them of the latest news of the battle. This
opening sentence sets the scene for the whole of the play, a bloody war.
There is more blood when MacBeth and his lady have killed Duncan, the
blood symbolises guilt so Lady MacBeth smears blood onto the guards and
then cleans herself of the blood on her.
“A little water clears us of this deed,” meaning that if there is
no blood on them they can not be guilty.
Banqueting, eating and food symbolise a happy and unsuspecting
atmosphere. When you are in a crowd you feel safe and not threatened. If
you are with a lot of people when there is a crime you have a very strong
alibi. When Macbeth was at his banquet he made a toast to Banquo who was
not present, MacBeth knew exactly why Banquo was not present because it
was he who sent out two murderers to kill him; the play is full of such
lies and stories to cover up crimes so much that the criminals can not
handle the guilt.
The whole play is a reflection of chaos and order. The population
are all in an order and set rank but at the top of the hierarchy where the
order matters there is a state of chaos and this is filtered down through
the hierarchy to everyone in the play. The people are fighting for order
to be restored and justice done.
Throughout the book there are a lot of dark and light images. The
witches are always in the dark because the darkness represents a fear full
unknown. It is in the dark where crimes occur because they can go
unnoticed. Mist is also an image used because it is in mist that nothing is
as it seems.
Lady MacBeth has such a guilty conscience that it is in her sleep
that she admits to Duncan`s murder,
“Yet here’s a spot, out dammed spot! Out, I say! Here’s the smell of the
blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand.
What’s done cannot be undone, to bed, to bed.”
Sleep is unpredictable but inevitable just as is the truth about a
Water is a representation of fear and no return:
“Like two tired swimmers clinging to one another”
There will eventually be an end no matter how long they cling on for they
are only delaying their certain death.
When reading the book you are subconsciously placed in a certain
mood, feeling or feel a certain emotion when key words appear; dark
instils fear, Banqueting gives joy and dreams are unimaginable. The
imagery and text give a pre amble into what the next line or paragraph is
about, so making the story easier to understand.