In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, the word blood has many different meanings. Its meaning seems to change from good to evil as the play progresses. It also is a reoccurring theme throughout the play. I think that it helps strengthen the theme of the tragedy. It’s about a young war hero with the dream of someday holding a higher position. When Macbeth finds that he was been chosen as thane of Cawdor he was kind of surprised because while on a ride with his friend Banquo, three witches told him that he would become thane, and then someday become King of Scotland.
Blood is symbolic in Macbeth because it touches upon each major theme in the play. In one sense, blood relates to weakness and heroism. In the beginning of the play Duncan says, “What bloody a man is that?” Due to the loss of blood Macbeth is made weak, but this weakness seems to amplify his heroism because he’s bloodied himself while fighting for his country. It’s almost like, the bloodier one is, the more heroic they are. This also symbolizes bravery. The irony is that blood can symbolize weakness in some cases and strength in others. It’s all in how you look at it. If someone gets injured in a sport, it becomes a “war wound” and a sign of courage and battle. If they get upset and scared, or beaten up in a fight and lose, the blood reminds them of their weakness.
Another theme that blood symbolizes in this play is guilt. After Macbeth murders Duncan he goes to the well and tries to wash his hands. At the well Macbeth says, “Will great Neptune’s ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?” This is Macbeth pleading to the god’s to please purify him and wash him free of guilt and sin. It’s almost a natural instinct to feel guilt when a large amount of blood is spilt. Even if it’s not their fault, people tend to feel the guilt for other people.