Imagery and Irony



Home*The Play*Dramatis Personae*Theme*Imagery and Irony*Setting and Background*On Film and Stage*

Imagery:


-Shakespeare?s plays rich in imagery
-use of repetition, interweaving of related images - play?s important themes
-SIMILE Banquo: ?The earth has bubbles, as the water has...? (I. iii.)
-Banquo attempts to explain the sudden appearance of the witches, like they popped like bubbles
-METAPHORS Macbeth: ?Why do you dress me/in borrowed robes?? said when Ross calls Macbeth, ?Thane of Cawdor?, a title Macbeth still thinks belongs to someone else

i)Repeated Images:
-blood animals, clothes, sleep, illness/health, light/darkness, banquets, children

ii) Blood: -100 references
-first connected with good (ex. good captain)
-later linked with Duncan?s death and revenge
-Macbeth and Lady Macbeth reactions to blood on their hands in contrast to Lady Macbeth?s words when she was sleep walking
- ?I am in blood/Stepped in so far...? (III. iv. 135 - 137) Macbeth at the peak of his evil

iii) Animals:
-Elizabethan times saw animals as a part of natural order of universe
-animal bravery used to describe Macbeth?s bravery
-theme or order/disorder clarified by animals unnaturally (II. iv. ; III. iv - vi.)

iv) Clothes:
-idea of ill-fitting or unsuitable clothing symbolizes Macbeth?s unsuitability as a king
-imagery is underlined by frequent use of ?clothes? words such as ?cloaked? or ?wrapt?
-key quotations - (I, iii, 107 ; II, iv, 37 ; V, ii, 20 )
-significantly, Macbeth seems most comfortable in his armor - good point to his role as a warrior

v) Sleep:
-seen as natural and healing
-murder of Duncan made Macbeth feel he has murdered sleep
-sleeping is associated with innocence

vi) Illness/Health:
-images of sickness and health are used to support the theme of order/disorder
-both Caithness and Macbeth himself seek a medicine to cure the country of all its ills
-notice that Edward (good king) is able to perform miracle cures while Macbeth worsens

vii) Light/Darkness:
-common imagery of light to represent goodness and innocence
-darkness symbolizes evil
-appropriately, Macbeth is a ?dark? play with many murders occurring at nighttime
-Macbeth is hardly seen in daylight

viii) Banquets:
-banquet also used to support theme of order/disorder
-when Macbeth?s banquet is disrupted, it is a symbol of breakdown of natural order of things
-all caused by death of Duncan, the rightful king

ix) Children:
-symbolize innocence and goodness
-Shakespeare stresses hatefulness of Macbeth by showing his fear of children and viciousness toward them
-Lady Macbeth?s cruelty also revealed when she says:
?I have given suck.....? (I, viii, 54 - 59)
-he has Macduff?s children killed and tries to kill Fleance
-he fears Malcolm (rightful child) and Banquo?s children who were prophesied to come to the crown
-children may also represent the future and Macbeth greatly fears the future

Irony:


1) refers to the kind of twist of fate, where the result of and action "bounces back" and affects the person who committed the action
- ex- when Duncan had the Thane of Cawdor executed for treachery, and gives the vacant title to Macbeth
- when Macbeth expresses the insencere wish that Banquo be present, during the Banquet scene
- irony- Banquo's ghost appears and terrifies Macbeth

2) Dramatic Irony- when the audience are in on a secret, but one or more characters are unaware
-ex.- when Duncan arrives at Macbeth's Castle and exclaims over the pleasant setting
- the audience knows that his gracious host and hostess will be his killers

Double Meaning of Words:
- ex- Macbeth- "twas a rough night"
- "Had I but died an hour before this chance, / I had lived a blessed time. "
=> one-side shows the cover up for the deed
- on the other side shows his remorse
**important: Act I, sc iv Duncans speeches
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