The first recurrent image is the dark or darkness. Dark represents evil and hell. All of our fears rise in the dark. We can see that most of the mains scenes happen in a dark place or during the night. In fact, all the murders and treasons are done in darkness as if the dark could cover and hide the horrible deeds.
For example, in act I scene V l. 53 to 56, Lady Macbeth says: “Come thick night, And pall thee in the dunnest smoke of hell, that my keen knife see not the wound it makes, Nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark, To cry, Hold! Hold! In this passage, Lady Macbeth is thinking about Duncan’s murder, and she wants to act in darkness so she will not see the murder. In that way darkness blinds out all of the terrible things that could be done. Then, the scene of Macbeth’s vision of the dagger happens in the complete darkness so the vision of his future murder comes to Macbeth only at night when no light can bring him back to goodness. Banquo’s murder also happens in the dark. Such evil deeds could only be done in the dark. Then during Lady Macbeth’s sleep walking, the only source of light comes from the candle that she keeps by her at night.
In fact, Lady Macbeth is very afraid of darkness because it makes her remember of all the deeds that happened during the night. (Here, light has a positive reassuring role. ) In this scene, she reveals all the crimes that her husband committed with her support. In conclusion, darkness intensifies the horrible deeds and murders and brings a very fearful ambiance to the play. The second image is the one of the sleep that is kind of related to the one of the dark because dark and sleep comes together. Firstly, we can see that Duncan is killed during his sleep.
This fact is even mentioned by Lady Macbeth in act II scene 2 l. 15 to 16: “Had he not resembled My father as he slept, I had done’t. ” Then, in the same scene, Macbeth says l. 46 to 47: “Sleep no more! Macbeth does murder sleep! ” Ironically, he’s going to lose his sleep as well as Lady Macbeth who will become a sleep walker. Then, Lady Macbeth relates sleep with death, when she says in act II scene 2 l. 67 to 70: “The sleeping and the dead Are but as pictures: ‘tis the eye of childhood That fears a painted evil. ” The second reference to sleep in relation to death is present in act II scene 3 l. 9 to 80: “Shake off this downy sleep, death’s counterfeilt, And look on death itself! ” The third image that appears in the book is the image of the light.
Light in opposite of the theme of darkness is representative of purity, God, goodness, heaven etc. Light is for Macbeth a disadvantage because all his actions consist on killing people, committing deeds and crimes and he doesn’t want any light to lighten his awful actions. For example, in act I, he says: “Stars, hide your fires; Let not loight see my black and deep desires: The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be, Which the eye fears, when it done, to see. Here, we understand that his desires are so terrible that he can’t even stand the thin light of the stars that shine on them; he doesn’t even want to look at them himself probably because he feels ashamed. We can also say that through his words, Macbeth constructs a bridge between light and morality. Within the whole drama, the sun seems to shine only twice. First, in the beautiful but ironical passage in which Duncan sees the swallows flirting around the castle of death (it’s Macbeth’s castle when he’s going to be murdered).
The second time, when at the close of the army (who wants to take revenge) gathers to rid the earth of its shame. Therefore, the reader can conclude that Shakespeare portrays darkness to establish the evil parts of the play, we can say that he employs daylight to define victory or goodness (as it said before) in the play. The fourth and last theme is the animal. We found a lot of comparaison between the characters and the animals in this play, for example: “Raven himself is hoarse” said by Lady Macbeth in act I scene V. Raven represents death. Looks like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it. ” Also said by Lady Macbeth in act I scene V. She says that his husband must look nice and calm on the outside but evil inside. “We have scorched the snake not killed it. ” Said by Macbeth in act III scene II, this quote means that snake represents everything that prevents Macbeth from enjoying his kingship. “And Duncan’s horses, beauteous and swift, the minions of their race, turned wild in nature, broke their stalls, flung out, contending ‘gainst obedience, as they would make war with mankind” said by Ross in act II scene IV.
Here, Ross says that Duncan’s horses were acting strange. They broke out of their stalls and started to attack anyone who came in their way. Another image appear in act III scene IV, said by Macbeth : “Approach thou like the rugged Russian bear. ” Here, Macbeth is describing how the ghost of Banquo is hauting him by coming closer to him like a bear. These imageries of animals which symbolizes the different character of the play, helps to make the play’s atmosphere from supernatural nature. Shakespeare uses animal imagery to characterize, to show emotions and also to foreshadow.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 2 October 2016
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