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Changes in Characters Through the Tragedy of Macbeth

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When most people think of blood, only one thing comes to mind: death. In reality, blood can stand for many things and Shakespeare uses several throughout the trauma. Shakespeare's The Tragedy Macbeth contains a large amount of symbolism; moreover, he uses blood so rigorously in this play that it becomes an important factor of the play in itself. It, not only stirs emotion in readers, but also displays the dramatic aspect of the story. In William Shakespeare's play, The Tragedy of Macbeth, he uses imagery of blood to symbolize murder, manhood, and guilt to show the real personalities of characters like Duncan, Macbeth, Lady Macbeth, and Banquo.

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In this play, blood symbolizes murder, which is the key component in all tragedies. In the murder of King Duncan occurs. Not long after Macbeth murders the King, Macduff and his troops arrive at Macbeth's house. He is flustered when Macduff discovers the horrific sight and exaggerates his sorrow to make him seem less guilty. Out of fear he murders the two drugged servants and blames them for the murder of the king. Not only do these events affect the main plot of the story, but are the main cause of drastic personality changes in characters like Macbeth, Macduff, Banquo, and Lady Macbeth. In reality, fear and ambition go together with poor decision-making.

Similarly, in this writing, Macbeth’s fear and ambition towards loss of power leads to the murder of his closest friend, Banquo in. His desires and selfishness continue to grow as he finds out that his former ally, Macduff is plotting against him. He sends his soldiers to Macduff’s residence to kill him. Coming to the conclusion that Macduff is not at his home, in Shakespeare the army instead murders his family. Over time Macbeth’s ambition spirals out of control and once Lady Macbeth discovers Macbeth’s actions she becomes paranoid. She becomes afraid of his intentions and starts to blame herself for encouraging Macbeth’s outrageous slaughtering. Every time someone kills or murders, blood symbolizes the loss of life and the effects of it on specific characters.

In Shakespeare's play, especially in the beginning, blood symbolizes manhood. In the second scene of the play Lady Macbeth receives a startling letter from Macbeth that causes her ambitions for power and wealth to become overpowering in. Lady Macbeth knows how to manipulate her husband and she uses it to convince him of committing a heinous crime to get what she wants. He is not easily convinced at first, so she mocks his manhood something that is very prized by men. The witches prophecy, “The power of man, for none of woman born shall harm Macbeth”proves the value of manhood in this time period. Lady Macbeth states that he is a coward unless he goes through with the murder.

After the murder he forgets to place the false accusations on the servants and refuses to do so. Once again Lady Macbeth calls him a coward in  because he does not want to see the bloody mess that he has created. In several parts of the play it talks about the power of gender. In this time men are seen as rulers and woman were considered as nurturers. In several parts of the play gender manipulation causes many characters to do things that they normally wouldn't do. For example Lady Macbeth prays to be a man in  so that she can be resolute enough to commit bloodshed. In this time blood represents manhood because if you can’t handle war then you are no man.

In the end of the play Shakespeare uses blood to symbolize guilt. Throughout this work guilt shows characters true intentions, their change in morals, and how powerful guilt can be. In this play, guilt metaphorically represents the blood on Macbeth’s hands. The earliest we see an appearance of guilt, is when Macbeth is determining whether to kill the king. After he commits regicide he is paranoid, which explains why he is so timid through most of the play. Macbeth states“ How is’t with me, when every noise appals me.” He feels this way because he is loyal to his king and the ghost of the kings spirit haunts him as well as the heaviness on his coincidence. Throughout the play guilt takes a large toll on Lady Macbeth as well.

She starts to quickly second guess herself when Macbeth plans to murder Banquo in. Her guilt progressively worsens and she starts to sleep walk constantly. This play is partially about how guilt comes to the surface when someone knows that they have done something wrong. It is portrayed as malicious because most of the time it hits after it is too late to reverse your actions. Unfortunately, this happens to several characters including both Macbeth and his wife. Lady Macbeth dies in, and it teaches us to think before we act because ultimately guilt is deadly.

Despite the evidence that blood symbolizes many things in “The Tragedy of Macbeth”, many argue that it is only to add gruesome and gory elements to the story because in many scenes, the gory is described as bloody and horrible. Although blood does show the more traumatic parts of the play, it consistently is used to metaphorically or morally represent something. Blood is a symbol in reality that represents sacrifice and life. Blood becomes a symbol in this narrative that aids in the overall moral of the story, which is that ambition can be very dangerous if not handled with the utmost care. In contrast even though blood is used to portrait agonizing scenes, it is mainly used to represent emotions and morals. 

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