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Shakespeare’s Macbeth Essay: Blood Images and Imagery

Use of Blood Imagery in Macbeth

William Shakespeare uses many techniques to liven the intensity, and the excitement in his plays. In the play of MacBeth, Shakespeare uses blood imagery to add a sense of fear, guilt, shame, insanity, and anger to the atmosphere. The use of blood imagery allows the audience to vision in their minds the crime scene where Duncan was murdered, as well as the scene where Lady MacBeth tries to cope with the consequences of her actions. The talk and sight of blood has a great impact on the strength and depth of the use of blood imagery.

MacBeth’s soliloquy in Act 2 scene 1 gives the reader a description of how Duncan will be murdered. “I see thee still, and on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, which was not so before.” MacBeth is talking about what he will see when he will have murdered Duncan. The image given is a sharp dagger covered in thick blood from the tip to the dudgeon. Dudgeon is the tilt of the dagger. You can just imagine how deep the wounds of Duncan are, how Duncan’s body will resemble after multiple stabs, his blood emerging from his body.

Both MacBeth and Lady MacBeth react differently from seeing so much blood and killing innocent men, women, and children. Lady MacBeth, in the fifth act, has become overwhelmed with guilt that she has gone insane. “Out, dammed spot! Out, I say! One- two- why then tis’ time to do ’t. Hell is murky.- Fie, my lord, fie, a soldier, and afeard? What need we fear who knows it, when none can call our power to account? Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him?” Lady MacBeth is in fear that someone would accuse MacBeth and herself for the murder of Duncan. She is tries to get rid of the evidence, the blood that has stained her hands, that could hold her guilty for the death of Duncan.

Political Authority in Sophocles’ Antigone

Antigone: Political Authority

Political power results from the fear of force. The individual acts out of a fear of consequences of disobedience and in accordance with the desdire for self-preservation. Political Authority results from a belief in the moral correctness of the organization in question. The individual acts of a sense of obligation and acknowledges the right of the ruler, morally, to rule and the moral correctness of the laws are accepted. The laws are obeyed for their own sake.

In Antigone, Sophocles suggests there is no basis for political authority: that Creon’s citizens obey him out of fear of the consequences of disobedience. Ismene’s obeys his edict is because she fears death. The soldier reports the attempted burial of Polyneices and brings the captured Antigone to Creon to “save his own sweet skin.” The chorus believes no one would risk death out of political or moral or religious objectives. Antigone utterly rejects the authority of Creon: “these laws were not made in heaven,” she says, and I do not have to obey the laws of human beings. She acts as she does because she does not respect authority and because she does not fear death. Haemon appeals to Creon on the basis of power – he suggests public opinion is against Creon and Creoin is at risk of losing his power as king. Only Creon and Tireseas ever acknowledge the issue of political authority. And with both, it is unclear whether authority can be the motivation, because in both situations, authority issues are tied to issues of power and personal gain. As the chorus comments – can one sublimate ones personal desires to the public good? If not then power is the only way to maintain public order.

Socrates asks how can an organization, that by its very nature must act immorally (eg. Allow injustice) have moral authority? Since a political community must require its citizens to accept, unquestioningly, (at least at times) its basic assumptions and must demand obedience to its laws for the community to continue to survive and prosper, it must stifle individual humans in their pursuit of knowledge.

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