In the classic Shakespearean drama Macbeth it seems that every scene is laden with copious imagery – and for a purpose. Its intended purpose is to play a supporting role for more important facets of the play, for example theme.
In his book, On the Design of Shakespearean Tragedy, H. S. Wilson interprets the imagery of Macbeth:
Macbeth is a play in which the poetic atmosphere is very important; so important, indeed, that some recent commentators give the impression that this atmosphere, as created by the imagery of the play, is its determining quality. For those who pay most attention to these powerful atmospheric suggestions, this is doubtless true. Mr. Kenneth Muir, in his introduction to the play – which does not, by the way, interpret it simply from this point of view – aptly describes the cumulative effect of the imagery: “The contrast between light and darkness is part of a general antithesis between good and evil, devils and angels, evil and grace, hell and heaven . . . and the disease images of IV, iii and in the last act clearly reflect both the evil which is a disease, and Macbeth himself who is the disease from which his country suffers.”(67-68)
Roger Warren comments in Shakespeare Survey 30 , regarding Trervor Nunn’s direction of Macbeth at Stratford-upon-Avon in 1974-75, on opposing imagery used to support the opposing notions of purity and black magic:
Much of the approach and detail was carried over, particularly the clash between religious purity and black magic. Purity was embodied by Duncan, very infirm (in 1974 he was blind), dressed in white and accompanied by church organ music, set against the black magic of the witches, who even chanted ‘Double, double to the Dies Irae. (283)
L.C. Knights in the essay “Macbeth” explains the supporting role which imagery plays in Macbeth’s descent into darkness:
To listen to the witches, it is suggested, is like eating “the insane root, That takes the reason prisoner” (I.iii.84-5); for Macbeth, in the moment of temptation, “function,” or intellectual activity, is “smother’d in surmise”; and everywhere the imagery of darkness suggests not only the absence or withdrawal of light but – “light thickens” – the presence of something positively oppressive and impeding. (101)
In Fools of Time: Studies in Shakespearean Tragedy, Northrop Frye shows how the playwright uses imagery to reinforce the theme:
Creation, Flood and the Hero in Epic of Gilgamesh and Book of Genesis of the Christian Bible
Creation, Flood and the Hero in Gilgamesh and the Bible
The Epic of Gilgamesh compares to the Bible in many different ways. The epic has a different perspective than the Bible does. This paper is a contrast and comparison between the two books. The three main points of this paper will be the Creation, Flood and the Hero.
The way these two books start out is creation. This is the first similarity that we can state. God created man out of the earth, “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the Earth”. In the epic, Auru, the goddess o…
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…s that are hard to decipher, but most was understandable. The Epic of Gilgamesh was hard to get started on, but was easily finished.
Bibliography The Holy Bible. KJV. Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville. 1984. The Epic of Gilgamesh. Penguin Books, London. 1972.