Macbeth is a dramatic play written by William Shakespeare. He uses a vivid selection of imagery throughout the play and thus he achieves successfully a reaction of the reader. As Caroline Spurgeon supports “an appreciable part of the emotion we feel throughout ofthe pity, fear and horror, is due to the subtle but definite and repeated action of this imagery upon our minds”.
But it is easier to understand what exactly imagery is if we know the real meaning. According to the Longman Dictionary of English, the imagery is the use of words or pictures to describe ideas or actions in poems, books, films etc. It is used by the author for a particular effectand what is the effect that imagery causes in Macbeth? Firstly, we have to read about the imagery that the reader can find in the play.
In the play 'Macbeth' Shakespeare applies the imagery of darkness, light and blood. These are the more noticeable and important and they symbolize different feelings. Darkness has a close relation with night. From the very beginning the second scene alludes todarkness in Act I, “Shipwrecking storms and direful thunders break." It is said after the returning from the battle where Macbeth defeats Macdonald and this fact will convert Macbeth in the thane of Cawdor but ironically this sentence not only announces about a storm but the terrible events that will occur. Indeed the weather has an important role in literature; it indicates frequently what is goingto happen. The idea of weather is greatly present in the play and it is represented by the night and light we talked about above. The best example I consider to talk about this theme is the presence of the witches. They are an important part of the play and they develop a relevant presence in the development of the plot. The appearance of the witches also adds to the feeling of darkness and evil.They, in any way, provoke the Macbeth´s actions. This means that the witches cause Macbeth to become ambitious and to give in to the temptation to be powerful and as result Macbeth kills the king of Scotland. Shakespeare's use of the darkness by night gives a sense of evil to the play and witches always appear in darkness and the different meetings with Macbeth are in the darkness and accompaniedby thunders and lightning. In the first line:”When shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain?”Appearances of the terrible storms indicate the appearances of coming terrible facts. Witches are an image of darkness and Macbeth himself describes them as “secret, black, and midnight hags” in Act IV, Scene I.
Night time is obviously a key for darkness and evil too. The murdering ofKing Duncan takes place at night. Moreover, this murdering is a villainous and coward deed because Macbeth did it when Duncan was sleeping and he could not defend himself. Darkness can represent several things in the play; as we have seen, taking into account too that the weather is a good partner of darkness to give the real importance of its appearance provoking horror.
Darkness also shows thatLady Macbeth’s weakness. In spite of being a deeply ambitious woman and supporting Macbeth to commit murder, Lady Macbeth shows her fear and guilty conscience whereas she is sleeping and she admits to Duncan`s murder, “Yet here's a spot, out dammed spot! Out, I say! Here's the smell of the
blood still: all the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand. What's done cannot be undone,to bed, to bed.” And she states “What’s done cannot be undone. To bed, to bed, to bed!” Guilty eventually defeats Lady Macbeth and she commits suicide. We could say that sleep is an allied of truth because unconsciously flourishes the truth about a crime. Another imagery connected with truth is the light. So, there is a contrast between dark and light representing evil and good facts. Indeed,...