Macbeth literary analysis essay

Subject: 📚 Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 2
Word count: 510
Topics: Macbeth, 📗 Book, 🧔 William Shakespeare
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In the play “Macbeth” William Shakespeare skillfully uses many iconic symbols to complement his fascinating story. His accurate depictions of blood, water, light, dark, rampant animals and even the witches are prime examples of how well he employed symbols to include depth to his play. These images were frequently repeated, and all of them were closely connected with the main plot of the play. For instance, Shakespeare used blood in this play several considerable times. The visible image of blood is first mentioned by Macbeth shortly after he had intentionally killed Duncan. The theme of blood appears again when Lady Macbeth is thinking about killing Duncan, as well as at other points in the play.

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Symbolism in Macbeth

In the aforementioned circumstances, blood was described to symbolize the overwhelming guilt and emotional pain that Macbeth and his wife felt as a side effect of their cruel actions, which consumed Macbeth’s mind and subsequently drove Lady Macbeth to suicide. Visibly, if blood was a reflection of death, guilt and doubt, water certainly symbolized purification and peace, and these two symbols are repeatedly used in many literary works and are always interconnected. Incidentally, all the more in the bible, Pontius Pilate washed his hands in water after condemning Jesus to be crucified.

However, Macbeth notes that all the water in the sea will turn red from the blood on his hands, which leads to the logical conclusion that blood in this play was a much more dominant symbol than water. As for other symbols, in Macbeth light and dark are typically used in the conventional sense. Light symbolized morality and good values, and it is no coincidence that when Banquo or another innocent victim appeared in the visual representation of the play, the scenery was light. On the contrary, when an act showed murder or something supernatural, such as the scenes with the three witches, dark and gloomy tones were used.

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Also, animals, strange in their behavior, which were periodically mentioned during the outstanding performance, symbolized chaos. When Duncan was killed, Shakespeare used these enraged creatures to convincingly demonstrate that something shocking and unbearable had happened in the kingdom. The explicit image of these animals was additionally employed to symbolize the overwhelming anxiety that Macbeth personally experienced because of the prophecies predicted by the wicked witches. Moreover, the witches themselves are presented to symbolize the extraordinary or supernatural, which was held in high esteem at the time of this play’s composition.


William Shakespeare repeatedly resorted to the apt use of various cultural symbols throughout the play “Macbeth”. Blood, Water, Light, Dark, Animals, and the supernatural represented the primary symbols that were repeated thoughtfully many times in the plot of the play and were used in such a unique way that the audience could sincerely experience the emotions of the characters. Due to the fact that Shakespeare utilized various symbolic images, his figure is immortalized as one of the most noted playwrights in history, and his plays, which have already become masterpieces of the classics, are shown from generation to generation.

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  1. Shakespeare, W. (1992). Macbeth. Wordsworth Editions.
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