Themes and Images of Macbeth

imagery: night/darkness evil, mystery, and unknown; an active force in nature and the minds of people
example of night/darkness Duncan is killed in the night
imagery: weather, time of day, actions of animals often used to portray the emotional or mental state of key characters, sometimes used as foreshadowing
imagery: light innocence, truth, and purity
imagery: nature when Duncan is killed unnatural occurrences in the chain of being begin happening showing that something is wrong
examples of nature imagery owl killing a falcon, Duncan’s horses went wild and began eating each other
imagery: hallucinations symbolize guilt
hallucination examples dagger, Banquo’s ghost
imagery: dagger Macbeth imagines a floating dagger that becomes covered in blood, symbolizes Duncan’s death, vision of Macbeth’s guilt
imagery: prophecy given by the witches and they all come true, readers do not know if they are fullfulled by fate or will of the charactersex: Macbeth will be thane of Cawdor and King, Banquo’s descendants will be king, Macbeth willnot die from a man born of a woman
imagery: sleep peace and innocence, deceptionex: Macbeth cannot sleep after murdering Duncan, Duncan is asleep when he is killed, Macbeth pretends to sleep so he will not be suspected for the murder of Duncan
imagery: blood guilt of Macbeth and Lady Macbethex: dagger image, blood on hands that cannot be cleaned, bloody child apparition
theme: fate and free will was it fate or free will that made Macbeth become a traitor and do evils
theme: ambition Macbeth wants power and will do anything and kill anyone who might stand in his way, he puts himself before the good of the countryex: “I have no spur to prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition which o’erleaps itself” (1.7.25-27)
theme: power Even though he did not have divine right, Macbeth will do everything he can to gain power and become king
theme: sexes – males strong and powerful, aggressive, violent
theme: sexes – females sources of violence and evil, root of evil and chaos, aggressive – goes against society’s expectations of how women should behave
theme: supernatural real in everyday life, used throughout the bookex: witches, dagger, apparitions, Banquo’s ghost

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