The darknes and evil in Macbeth
Imagery is one of the most important things in Macbeth. As one of the tools in literature,imagery is a very powerfull resource that gives more strength to texts and Macbeth is not the exception.
This essay will show how the dark imagery in William Shakespeare’s play Macbeth is used for three dramatic purposes : To set an atmosphere,to amaze the emotions of the audience and to contribute to the main theme in the play.
The dark imagery in Macbeth contributes to its atmosphere. At the very begginnig
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?"
(Macbeth 1. 1. line 1),is an example of dark imagery because when
youthink of the crashing thunder, lightning and rain, they all remind you of
evil,frighthening, powerfull and unknown things. Later on, when the Sergeant is
talking to Duncan and Malcolm and he says:
"Ship wrecking storms and direful thunders break" (1. 2. 126)
Again, this dark imagery contributes to that obscure atmosphere of the
play, having reference to thunder and dark storms, twonatural events that corresponded to men’s inner state in the Elizabethan world :
“ Of all the correspondences between two planes that between the cosmic and the human was the commonest. Not only did man constitute in himself one of the planes of creation, but he was the microcosm, the sum in little of the great world itself. He was composed materially of the four elements and contained withinhimself, as well as his rational soul vegetative and sensitive souls after the manners of plants and animals. The constitution of his body duplicated the constitution of the earth. His vital heat corresponded to the subterranean fire; his veins to rivers; his sighs to winds; the outbursts of his passions to storms and earthquakes There is a whole complex body of doctrine behind the account of howlear
Strives in his little world of man to outscorn
The to and fro conflicting wind and rain.
Storms were also frequent in another correspondence, that between macrocosm and body politic. Storms and perturbations in the heavens were duplicated by commotions and disasters In the state of men.” (E. M. W. Tillyard, "The Elizabethan World Order," Shakespeare’s History Plays (The MacmillanCo., 1946): 10-20).
Finally, Lady Macbeth and Macbeth are talking in the scene just before the murder of Banquo and Macbeth tells her:
"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" (3. 2. l50-53).
This example of dark imagery is telling us that the day is turning into night,all the good things are going to sleep, and the evil creatures are about to come out . Since the imagery creates an sinister atmosphere it leads then to the second dramatic purpose, to amaze the emotions of the audience. Dark imagery is a very good tool to amuze the emotions of the audience. It enables people to create a mental picture of
what they are reading and it catches their attetionif they are watching the performance of the play. For instance, in this example of dark imagery, Duncan and Macbeth were talking when Macbeth says aside:
"Stars, hide your fires! Let not light see my black and deep desires" (1. 4. l50-51).
When words like dark and desire are put together in that context it creates many disturbing mental pictures about murder and fights which attractspeoples attention and impresses its emotions. Later, Ross is talking with an old man when he says :
"By the clock `tis day, and yet dark night strangles the traveling lamp" (2. 4. l6-7).
This means that although the sun should beout, something is blocking the light. This example of dark imagery creates an “ill –fated” feeling in the reader because it is strange and anti -natural for the...