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Macbeth is a play written by the famous playwright William Shakespeare and it still remains one of his popular works. The story takes place in the old times when Scotland was still under the control of kings, and wars were waged for the acquisition of power. Macbeth is a senior soldier in the ranks of the Scottish army, which is under the rule of King Duncan. He is loyal to the King, until the day when the loyal general meets with three witches. They instill doubt and hope into him and his compatriot Banquo through their prophecies. These predictions involve the rise of Macbeth to the position of the King of Scotland ; the witches give him the title of the Thane of Cawdor, which later on becomes true as he is bestowed this title by the King. This helped to validate the authentication of the prophecies to Macbeth. He immediately begins to plot on becoming a king and with the help of his wife achieves this goal through the murder of the current king when the latter spends the night at his castle. The story then depicts Macbeth as the new king and the trials and tribulations that he endures. They are caused by his choice, for suspicions and trepidation cause him to commit more murders and eventually turn into a tyrant in the eyes of his subjects’. The motif of blood is a common one in this story and serves to depict the mood of the play via the various scenarios that occur in the process of story unraveling. It also gives the reader a depiction of the times in an effort to highlight the violence that takes place within the kingdom during the rule of Macbeth as he searches to protect his crown through the shedding of even more blood.
The motif of blood can be found in various passages in the story which assist in illustrating the particular situation in a serious albeit darker light than would be done in case of the blood absence. The blood brings about a somber mood and depicts the evil that is involved or will be involved. There is a number of scenarios where the blood motif in Macbeth is used. For instance, the betrayal of King Duncan by Macbeth,when he spends the night at his castle, is an example of one. The lead character Macbeth is having hallucinations and is disturbed with visions of a bloody dagger before he goes to kill the king. The use of blood in this section can be described as a means to warn about what is going to happen next. When the murder takes place, the bloody dagger represents the act of violence that occurs in the king’s chambers afterwards .
The bloody daggers can also be regarded as a prophecy that is fulfilled later on when Lady Macbeth pins the murder on the King’s servants by placing bloody daggers onto them as they sleep. It is the bloody daggers that cause the servants to be convicted of crimes, which they didn’t commit. The bloody daggers may be viewed as a symbol of betrayal, both of the king and his servants. The sons of King Duncan can also be considered traitors, as fearing for their lives they are forced to flee and, thus, become suspects in their own father’s death. The vision of the bloody dagger brings about a chain of violent events. It is also the onset to the fulfillment of the first part of the witches’ prophesy, allowing Macbeth to be crowned King.
The second instance of blood can be found when, frustrated and worried about the current events, Macbeth goes to visit the three witches once more. The motif of blood is found in one of the three spirits that they conjure up during the visit to warn Macbeth of the times to come. This is the second spirit, which tells him that no one born of a woman will kill Macbeth. The bloody child, in this case, represents a warning to Macbeth. His downfall arises from the misunderstanding of this prophecy whereby his killer turns out to be born from a cesarean section, thus, being not of a woman’s womb. The bloody child can also be viewed as an illustration of Macbeth’s killer who is the son of the slain king Duncan.
A third instant of the motif of blood is seen through the vision of Lady Macbeth as she begins to sleepwalk and wash imaginary stains of blood from her hands. This latest motif of blood can be seen as a representation of the guilt that Lady Macbeth feels about the crimes they committed together with her husband. The evils that the two have committed finally catch up with her conscience because she begins to realize the wrong in her deeds. The bloodstains can also represent the lives that both of them have taken away, and the fact that they cannot be cleansed. This goes a long way to show that there is no turning back from what they have done. The motif of blood is prevailing in the story of Macbeth and helps not only to indicate the tone of the play, but also helps to represent the other themes in the book, such as betrayal, for instance.