The Tragedy of Macbeth

The Tragedy of Macbeth is plagued with the images that coincide with its many themes. Although there is really no central theme and all seem to intermingle, it would be extremely difficult to research the play in its entirety. Therefore, I've chosen to focus my study towards the recurring image of blood and how it's presence affected both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and the eventual outcome of the play.
The blood images in the play had different effects on the two. But perhaps the most noticeably affected person would be Lady Macbeth. It was after the death of Duncan that most of the repercussions took place, however, she began making references to blood even before the murder. In her pleading to the spirits, she prayed, "Make thick my blood (Act I.Scene v.line 43)" in order that she may not feel any "remorse" by her future action. She sees her thin blood as a weakness in her character and wishes it to be richer (thicker) with the qualities of courage, bravery and even emotional strength which that of a man might have. For a time these demands seemed as if they had actually been answered. Not even after the murder of Duncan or Banquo did she lose her composure, in fact, she actually kept her husband from losing his mind.
Eventually, though, her granted desire appeared to wear off and her naturally thin blood began to flow through her veins again. The pressure of her guilty conscious had driven her to insanity. As she expresses in her sleepwalking state, this guilt is felt due to the presence of Duncan's blood.
Out, damned 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 pow'r to accompt? Yet who would have thought the old man to have so much blood in him (V.i.34-39)?
It is easily seen how she has lost total control of her mind. For she jumps from topic to topic and in her jumbled thoughts has incriminated herself without even knowing it. She even experiences a hallucination as to the blood of Duncan which had once been on her hand. "Here's the smell of blood still. All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. Oh, oh, oh (V.i.49-51)!" It is actually a sort of irony that her weakness in character (thinness of her blood) could not bear the strength of guilt brought upon her by the presence of Duncan's blood. This fact proves to be her downfall for it ultimately drives her to take her own life.
Macbeth is the next character upon which the image of blood took its toll. However, its effect was the exact opposite on Macbeth than on his wife, for he immediately felt a guilty conscious and was often being emotionally pulled together by his wife. As time went on though it became easier for him to kill and he grew emotionally stronger while his wife got progressively weaker.
Once Macbeth had committed his first crime against Scotland, he instantly felt the effects of his deed. The overwhelming state of fear, anxiety and skittishness that set in can easily be seen in 3.
these lines.
Whence is that knocking? How is't with me, when every noise appalls me? What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine eyes! Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood Clean from my hand? No; this my hand will rather The multitudinous seas incarnadine, Making the green one red (II.iii.56-62).
Lady Macbeth, maintaining her calmness, guides her husband through his infirmness, as they prepare to explain their deed. For the time they had appeared successful and Duncan's murder had been pushed to the back of Macbeth's mind; once again he was prepared to murder, even his best friend Banquo. Having directly conspired the death of his close friend, the effects of savagely spilt blood were about to hit. Macbeth, in his hallucination, sees his deceased friend's ghost with twenty trenched gashes on his head. Again Macbeth's state of fear sets in. "Avaunt! and quit my sight! Let the earth hide thee! Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold; Thou hast no speculation in those eyes Which thou dost glare with (III.iv.93-96)." In a state of shock, Macbeth is made to look weak and helpless in