Sunday, January 19, 2020

Extent to which the child is the central image in Macbeth Essay

William Shakespeare’s Macbeth is filled with many vivid and recurring images. Such imagery permeates the text and provides strong striking images which, when performed on stage, stay firmly in the audiences’ minds. Many critics have proposed arguments expressing their opinion on what constitutes the central image in Macbeth. On reading the text, or perhaps watching the play, some of the images are more prominent than others. Images such as blood and darkness seem to hold most significance to the plot and to the themes. However, it is only with detailed reading that the image of the child is recognised as being profoundly significant. On first reading, the image of the child may not even be considered, but through meticulous study, this image may become more prominent and prove to be the pivot on which Macbeth’s character swings, it also provides the dynamic which drives the plot forward. Blood is perhaps one of the most striking and gruesome recurring image in the play. Blood has both symbolic and literal meaning in Macbeth, therefore it is widely recognised as one of the major motifs throughout the play. The blood that is shed in Macbeth is a reminder of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s guilt, and it acts as a metaphorical stain on the Macbeth’s consciences. These recurring bloody images play a particularly important role in scenes such as Act 2 Scene 2, when Macbeth returns from the scene of the crime carrying bloody daggers, and with his hands drenched in the King Duncan’s blood. Lady Macbeth too has blood stained hands after she goes back to replace the daggers which her husband has brought back to their chamber. Blood also plays a key role in Act 5 scene 1 when guilt consumes Lady Macbeth’s mind and during her sleepwalking,... ...ace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time, And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death.† (5:5 18-22) The image of ‘dusty death’, contrasts with the earlier images of fertility which abounded in the early scenes of the text: â€Å"I have begun to plant thee and will labour To make thee full of growing.† (1:4: 28-29) Macbeth’s proto-lineal ambition dies towards the end of the play. He comes to the conclusion that because he has failed in his ambition to found a dynasty, life is pointless. Macbeth sees no reason to live and the feeling of utter hopelessness overwhelms him. Lady Macbeth’s demise signifies that Macbeth’s dynastic dream is dead. He now realises the futility of his crimes, his â€Å"war on children† [7], has been wholly in vain. â€Å"For the babe signifies the future which Macbeth would control and cannot control.† [8]

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