Imagery in Macbeth

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Imagery in Macbeth
Darkness
Sleep
Clothing
Sickness and
disease
Blood
Analysis
What is the image?
What does it mean?
How does it reflect character?
What effect does it have?
Words that show analysis
The writer intends the reader to think.......
The writer intends the reader to feel.......
The image makes the reader feel.......
The writer is implying.......
Examples
Clothing
“Within the play ‘Macbeth’ the imagery of clothing portrays that
Macbeth is seeking to hide his “disgraceful self” from his eyes
and others”
Darkness
“In ‘Macbeth’, Shakespeare draws upon the design of the witches,
the guilt in Macbeth’s soul, and the darkness of the night to
establish the atmosphere.”
Examples
Blood
“Shakespeare uses the imagery of blood to represent treason, guilt,
murder and death.”
Sickness and disease
“.....in particular the imagery of disease acts as a metaphor for evil
and corruption.”
Sleep
“A guilty conscience, a blameful, responsible feeling of culpability, leaves both
Lady Macbeth and Macbeth guilt ridden and full of remorse. They both have murdered
sleep, therefore they will never take pleasure from peacefulness again”
CLOTHING





Shakespeare apparently intended to degrade his hero by giving him
clothes which were unsuited to him.
His garments seem either too big or too small for him, his ambition
is too big and his character too small for his new and unrightful role
as king.
After becoming Thane of Cawdor he feels as if “dressed in borrowed
clothes, Banquo comments “New honours come upon him/Like our
strange garments, cleave not to the mould/But with the aid of use.”
Caithness sees him as a man trying in vain to fasten a large garment
on him with two small a belt.
Angus finally says, “now does he feel his title/Hang loose about him,
like a giant’s robe/upon a dwarfish thief.”
BLOOD
•Blood represents treason, guilt, murder and death.
• Macbeth is first a brave, honoured soldier, but as the play progresses he
becomes identified with death and bloodshed.
• Blood changes from honour to treachery.
• Originally he is referred to by Duncan who says “What bloody man is that?”
•This is a term of endearment as he is referring to Macbeth as a brave fighter.
• Later in the play when Macbeth’s treachery has been revealed Macduff
says “I have no words, my voice is in my sword, thou bloodier villain than
terms can give thee out.”
DARKNESS
• All of the remarkable scenes take place at night or in some dark spot, ie
the murder of Duncan, the murder of Banquo and Lady Macbeth’s sleep
walking.
• Darkness stands for the evil and death, it can blind out all the horrible things
that happen at night, it is where evil deeds are done.
• Lady Macbeth asks “thick night” to come with “smoke of hell” so her knife
might not see the wound it makes in the sleeping king.
• When Lady Macbeth descends into madness she needs a candle or light
to protect her against evil forces which are symbolised by the darkness in her
soul.
SICKNESS AND DISEASE
• Macbeth, is ill with the disease of evil.
• In Act 4 Macduff and Malcolm lament the fact that Scotland is as ill as its
ruler.
• Malcolm describes the country like a being which is bleeding under Macbeth,
while Macduff talks about healing Scotland through the medicine of
revenge.
• Later in the play Macbeth asks the doctor to cure Lady Macbeth’s sickness
and the sickness of Scotland.
• Macbeth’s slow descent down the moral ladder is like a disease spreading
through a human body’s organs.
SLEEP
• When someone commits a crime, he or she will get caught up in the
moment of the deed, but later will have time to think about what they
did, usually as they are about to go to sleep.
• Macbeth obsesses about whether or not he will be able to go to sleep
even before he kills Duncan.
• Sleep is something he will need to feel peaceful and well-rested
• Later Macbeth has “murdered sleep”, and cannot rest because of the crime
he has committed.
• Sleep is also a state of vulnerability and an openness to attack.
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