Blood The longest running tradition in medicine, bloodletting, was a widely accepted practice with a three-thousand year-old history from the ancient Egyptians to the late 19 th century. At that time, physicians thought that disease was a curse caused by the supernatural. It was a common idea that blood carried the vital force of the body and was the seat of the soul. Anything from body weaknesses to insanity were attributed to a defect in this vital fluid. Bloodletting was a method for balancing other fluids in the body and cleansing it of impurities.
Shakespeare takes the same knowledge of blood and applies it to “Macbeth” in which the connotations not only foretell one’s glory but also one’s guilt. In many contexts, blood symbolizes one’s heroism and power. At the battlegrounds, Duncan notices the approaching sergeant and asks, “What bloody man is that?” (I. ii.
The use of blood signifies the captain’s bravery through his wounded state. He reports back their victory and symbolizes the violence that took place. This also alludes to Macbeth’s heroic qualities in which he too had fought on the same grounds. Lady Macbeth cries out for courage and strength by saying, “And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty.
Make thick my blood” (I. v. 49-50).
The use of blood in this context also relates to one’s power using the idea of it being a life source and a vital part to the soul. By thickening her blood, she believes she will have courage with a stronger substance flowing throughout her body, therefore, capable of becoming stronger. Macbeth honors Duncan and says, “His silver skin laced with his golden blood” (II.
... she is having troubles with her guilt. Also through the blood Macbeth convinces himself to commit the crimes and continue to murder ... his evil deed and black desires. Shakespeare uses blood imagery extensively in Macbeth. Blood can represent life, death and often injury. Shakespeare ... o'er.' ; (III, iv, 136-138) The blood sheds have have influenced Macbeth into thinking that there is no turning back ...
By comparing Duncan’s blood to gold, it glorifies him and his position of king that was unjustly robbed of him. It relates back to the idea of blood being the source of life and the make-up of a person. Any items with gold are things of high value and are prized possessions. By saying that Duncan had golden blood, it symbolized great power.
Despite the use of blood as a good connotation, Shakespeare uses blood to describe other connotations. In many instances, blood is what haunts Macbeth before and after the murder. “Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood/ Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather / The multitudinous seas incarnadine, / Making the green one red” (II. ii. 78-81).
No matter if it is a little water or a whole ocean of water, Macbeth feels that no amount of water will clean the blood off his hands.
Blood used in this context is sinful and evil. With guilt, he knows that what he has done will never be undone like the blood on his hands. When hallucinating the dagger, Macbeth sees that the blade has “go uts of blood, / Which was not so before. There’s no such thing.
/ It is the bloody business which informs / Thus to mine eyes” (II. ii. 58-61).
The imagery of blood on a sharp knife brings evil connotations and foreshadows the violence and goriness that is anticipated.
Macbeth refers to the murder as bloody business which adds to the evil that blood symbolizes. Donal bain also refers blood to murder by saying, “There’s daggers in men’s smiles. The near in blood, / the nearer bloody” (II. iv. 165-166).
For fear of being murdered as well, they associate blood as their father’s assassination and the word, bloody, as their own demise.
Blood can both personify one’s courage while at the same time describe one’s guilt and evil intent. It is a life source and describes one’s power or weakness. Contrasting to power, blood is greatly used in symbolizing murder and sin. With this one word, Shakespeare has the ability to create the best of both worlds.
... s blood on them, which is very risky. Following the murder, feelings of guilt begin to disturb Macbeth. After looking at his own hands Macbeth ... says, “This is a sorry sight”. When Macbeth looks at his bloody hands he acts completely ... been so calm and collect after the cold-blooded murder, realizing Macbeth took the daggers the two would have been caught. ...