Blood and Water

This essay Blood and Water has a total of 1470 words and 4 pages.

Blood and Water

In William Shakespeare\'s masterpiece Macbeth, he uses many motifs. Two of these motifs are
blood and water. The play is full of images of blood and water, to show the characters\' attitudes toward
their own guilt at each stage. Both motifs mature and change in their meaning along with the setting and
mood of the play. The functions of both are important if the subtleties of the play are to be understood.
Blood symbolizes honor, treachery, and guilt. Water symbolizes cleanliness of the soul, as though all it
takes is water to wash guilt away. While reading the play, it is noticed that blood comes up repeatedly. This
is important to the overall effect of the different usages in the play.
The word "blood," or different forms of it, is found forty-two times in the play, along with several
other passages dealing with the symbol. The symbolism of blood strangely follows the change in the
character Macbeth. Macbeth is first a soldier, very highly revered by the King Duncan. As the play
progresses, Macbeth\'s demeanor and personality declines, as does the meaning of blood. Blood is then
viewed as a symbol for treachery and bloodshed, along with the various forms of guilt. The first reference
of blood is one of honor, and occurs when Duncan sees the injured captain and says "What bloody man is
that?"(I, 2, ln.1). This mention of blood is symbolic of honor, for the brave fighter has been injured in a
glorious and ardent battle for his country. In the next passage the captain says that Macbeth\'s sword ". .
.smoked with bloody execution"(I, 1, ln.20), with this he is referring to Macbeth\'s braveness in which his
sword is steaming because it is covered in the hot blood!
of the enemy on the cold morning of the battle. This function is important because it shows that at this
point in the play the word blood is used as a sign of fighting valiantly. It is a sort of pride to have a
bloodied sword, or have bled in battle for your king.
After blood has been referred to a few times with reference to honor, the symbol of blood now
changes to show a theme of treachery and treason. Lady Macbeth begins the change when she asks the
spirits to "make thick my blood, "(1, 5, ln.50). What Lady Macbeth is saying is that she wishes to be
remorseless and insensitive about the murders she and Macbeth will soon commit. Also in this area the
symbol of blood is changes to one of guilt. Lady Macbeth knows that the evidence of blood is a treache

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