Blood will Have Blood
These deeds must not be thought / After these ways; so, it will make us mad (II, ii, 32-33) Translation today: A guilty conscience can make a man go crazy. In the play Macbeth, this is a recurring theme throughout one of Shakespeare s most famous tragedies. There are many different images that help contribute to this theme such as sleep/sleeplessness, water, & children, but the most significant image would probably that of blood. Throughout the story, the characters guilt is exposed through images of blood. This guilty conscience caused serious mistakes, which eventually led to the downfall of Macbeth.
This blood imagery adds to the guilty theme because all the characters are driven to the brink of insanity when they see blood on their own hands or in other places. This can make a character react to the people surrounding him in a unnatural way, or if it is all kept inside, these feelings might make the person totally breakdown.
Is this a dagger which I see before me, / The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee. (II, i, 33-34) The first image Macbeth sees is right before he kills Duncan. This image is not really there, yet it makes Macbeth worried. A second later, and on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood /Which was not so before. (II,i, 46-47), there was blood on that imaginary dagger. Macbeth probably appeared very serious and very worried at this time. A dark and lonely setting helped to make Macbeth s fears even greater. This vision was the first of many that eventually drove Macbeth s heart to be cold and his mind to grow crazy.
After the murder is committed Macbeth tries to clean himself and dispose of all evidence that might lead to any suspicions of Macbeth as the guilty party. Will all great Neptune s ocean wash this blood /Clean from my hand? (II, ii, 59-60) The blood on his hands didn t seem to be coming off even though it was probably already washed clean. It appeared that way to Macbeth because of his guilty conscience trying to tell him that what he did was wrong. The blood on his hands signified the blood of the highest stature, that of Duncan s. This helped emphasize the change of power but the remnants of blood also showed that Duncan s legacy was not completely gone and would eventually return to power.
When Macbeth is asked to come and take a seat at the banquet table with his fellow lords, he sees that all seats are full. Upon further inspection, an image appears as if out thin air, which only Macbeth can see. Never shake thy gory locks at me (III, iv, 50-51) Macbeth screams out to the ghost of his recently murdered best friend and kinsmen. The blood on Banquo s face and body was shed at Macbeth s order and Macbeth would now have to see what he had done to his second in command. This scene helped to develop the plot because each one of those lords went to bed that night with a greater suspicion of their king, than they had the night before.
The doctor and gentlewoman are both worried about Lady Macbeth. She has been walking in her sleep and doing many odd things as if she were awake, yet her senses are closed to the world. One night they are watching her and they hear her talk to herself. Here s the smell of the blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. (V, i, 49-50). Unknowingly, Lady Macbeth admits to the crimes committed by her and her spouse to the two witnesses hidden in the darkness. The doctor senses that she is not well and tells the gentlewoman to keep her in close observance and to not let her close to any harmful objects. Unfortunately, Lady Macbeth commits suicide sometime later.
Even a great man may not be able to withstand the trials and tribulations that go on in their own minds. Macbeth was one of those men. Although he thought he found happiness as the king, his guilt led him into an even deeper hole. The blood only helped Macbeth to see that what he was doing was wrong in his conscience, because deep down inside, he already knew that we reap what we sow.