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Analyzing Key Themes from Macbeth

Analyzing Key Themes from Macbeth

William Shakespeare used themes in his plays and poetry to deepen the meaning of them and to help the reader have another way to compare imagery in the play to what was really happening. Shakespeare’s Macbeth includes many cases of metaphorical as well as literal themes. Some examples of these types of themes deal with blood, clothing, illness and medicine, sleep, nature, and the over all mood of the play. There is a mixture of emotional, metaphorical, and literal themes. In many ways the themes in Macbeth are a form of imagery.

Blood plays a key role throughout Macbeth. Starting off the second scene, “What bloody man is that?” sets the imagery of blood in motion throughout the play and is a literal image of a dead soldier. Later, after King Duncan’s murder, Macbeth explains to Malcolm about the death of his father with the metaphorical phrase, ”The spring, the head, the fountain of your blood is stopped: the very source of it is stopped.” This is used to portray blood as a symbol of relation. Later, Macbeth uses the more revealing image: “I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.” This image of blood is used in an emotionally metaphorical way of saying that he has done something that is eating away at him so badly that stopping would be the worst thing to do. Many other images of blood appear, but many different kinds of themes appear as well.

Shakespeare was clever in his usefulness of ill-fitting clothing. A great example of this is Macbeth addressing Ross in confusion about his title with, “The Thane of Cawdor lives: why do you dress me in borrowed robes?” Unfit clothing was a common way of saying that someone was not really what he or she appeared to be. A more literal clothing image is made in Banquo’s confrontation with the witches. “What are these so withered, and so wild in their attire, that look not like th’ inhabitants o’ th’ earth, and yet they are on’t?” is Banquo’s literal interpretation of the unusualness of the witch’s clothing and appearance. When Angus states “Now does he feel his title hang loose about him, like a giant’s robe upon a dwarfish thief.” he is referring...

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