Many different types of imagery exist and there is at least one dramatic purpose for each image. By analyzing William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, it is evident that darkness imagery is used for three dramatic purposes. Those three purposes are to create atmosphere, to arouse the emotions of the audience and to contribute to the major theme of the play. The darkness imagery in Macbeth contributes to its ominous atmosphere. In the very beginning of the play the three witches are talking and the first witch says, “When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?” This is a good example of darkness imagery because when thinking about the crashing thunder, lightning, and rain, thoughts of ominous things are brought forth. Later on, the Sergeant is talking with Duncan and Malcolm when he states, “Ship wrecking storms and direful thunders break.”
Again this darkness imagery contributes to the ominous atmosphere of the play, having reference to thunder and dark storms. Finally, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are talking in the scene just before the murder of Banquo and Macbeth says, “Light thickens, and the crow makes wing to the rooky wood: Good things of day begin to droop and drowse, whiles night’s black agents to their preys do rouse.” This example of darkness imagery is saying that the day is turning into night, all the good things are going to sleep, and the evil creatures are coming out.
The evil in this previous quotation and the two before adds to the ominous atmosphere. Since the imagery creates an ominous atmosphere it would then lead to the second dramatic purpose, to arouse the emotions of the audience. Darkness imagery is a very good tool for arousing the emotions of the audience. It enables people to create a mental picture of what they are reading. For example, Duncan and Macbeth were talking when Macbeth says aside, “Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires.”
When words like “black” and “desire” are put in that context it creates many horrible mental pictures about murders and fights which arouses peoples emotions. Ross is later talking with an old man when he states “By the clock `tis day, and yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp.” In other words; although, the sun should be out, something is blocking the light. This example of darkness imagery creates an eerie feeling in the reader because it is very abnormal for the sun to be blocked. To help this example of imagery, the sun can also symbolize a monarch or king. Another case of darkness imagery happens when Lady Macbeth and a messenger are talking and Lady Macbeth states, “That my keen knife see not the wound it makes, nor heaven peep through the blanket of the dark to cry, ‘Hold, hold!'” It creates an sensation of terror in the reader because of the something that is unknown. With night covering the earth like a blanket, no one knows what might happen.
Also, Lady Macbeth seems to explain that her attack will be blind. She will be unable to see what she wounds and nothing will be able to come out of the darkness to stop her. Darkness imagery works well in characterizing as well as arousing the emotions of the audience. Darkness imagery also is very useful for a further dramatic purpose, to characterize, and specifically in characterizing Macbeth. Through the use of darkness imagery Shakespeare was able to characterize Macbeth as evident in this next quote where Macduff and Malcolm are talking and Macduff pronounces, “Not in legions of horrid hell can come a devil more damned in evils to top Macbeth.” It is understood that Macduff views Macbeth as a man even further corrupt than any devil and would consequently characterize him as evil. Subsequent to that, Macbeth enters a scene with Young Siward and Young Siward asks for his name. Macbeth replies and Young Siward replies with “The devil himself could not pronounce a title more hateful to mine ear.” This shows that, as well, Young Siward views Macbeth as a bad man and would also characterize Macbeth.
Lastly, Malcolm is speaking with Macduff and saying how he will reveal his real evil self and states “When they shall be open’d, black Macbeth will seem as pure as snow.” This characterizing Macbeth as a dark person but contrary to previous beliefs, Malcolm is actually more evil consequently viewing the previous; it is undoubtedly true that darkness does play a big role in developing the dramatic purposes. Darkness imagery does help convey to the audience the atmosphere, it does provoke the audience’s response to the play, and it did help illustrate the characters in Macbeth. Imagery plays a huge roll in the development of any piece of literature.
Supernatural Symbolism In Macbeth Essay
The supernatural events and elements that are placed into this book represent more than just something meant to scare the characters. It represents the evil that is inside of Macbeth, and lady Macbeth. The supernatural is also there to confuse and prove the guilabilty of humans, and how easily they are decieved by what they do not know. Shakespeare uses witches and hallucinations in his work to show the easy confusion on man. But they are more then just workers of the devil. They workers of Macbeth's imagination, and the evils that he has inside him.
It is apparent throughout the book that they witches truly did exist, and witches are, after all, supernatural. But contrary to what most would believe off hand, they are not the supernatural beings that they appear to be. They make prophecies, but they are all things that Macbeth himself brought into being. Just because he was told that the witches knew these things does not mean they really did. They very easily confused and started him into thinking that it was true, and so he acted on these impulses and brought his own fate into play all on his own. The witches also are just playing with Macbeth's mind. They do not really do anything very supernatural at all. They use his paradigmatic sense of confusion to make him believe that even while he is making these happen, that they are the ones who 'really' did it.
The dagger. The dagger was sent as a confusion. But it was not sent by anything supernatural. It was Macbeth's guilty conscience that know what he planned on doing, and so it was his own hallucination that made him take out his dagger. He saw what he planned to do and it prompted him into retrieving his own dagger. It was not the witches, but Macbeth himself. For example, when people are truly scared they think thing's are there when they are not. After all, does a child not, after hearing of monsters, suddenly believe they are seeing things under the bed? Hearing noises? This is exactly what happened to Macbeth in this case. He was so spent on believing things where happening that were supernatural, and his own mind was consumed with his plans that he thought up the...
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