Dark Images and Imagery in Shakespeare's Macbeth Essay

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Dark Imagery in Macbeth


Shakespeare uses a lot of imagery of night and darkness in Macbeth. This imagery is used to portray an image of a desolate, deranged place, full of tumult and disorder. Darkness and night imagery is also used to create an atmosphere of malevolence and misleading obscurity. Images of night and darkness are often used at times in the play when a death has occurred, or some other tragic event. Shakespeare also uses imagery of night and darkness in scenes with the witches, to make them seem evil and unruly. When someone is doing or thinking of something evil, there is often imagery of night and darkness, which helps to causes it to appear more evil and deranged. The images of night and darkness make the
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At one point in the play, Macbeth is described as "devilish and dark". At the part in the play when the three murderers sent by Macbeth killed Banquo, there were mentions of darkness. "The west yet glimmers with some streaks of day" (3:3, 7). This is said by one of the murderers, referring to how there was no light at all to be seen by except for the traces in the west sky, where the sun has already set. A few lines later, Banquo said "It will rain tonight." (3:3, 23) He said this because the sky was entirely dark, which could only happen with a complete storm cloud cover.


The appearances of the witches always occur in dark, stormy conditions. "When shall we three meet again? In thunder, lightning, or in rain?" (1:1,1-2). When there is thunder, lightning, and rain, it is usually dark. This suggests that the witches only meet in darkness, which assists Shakespeare in giving the witches a deceitful image. It also gives the witches a disjointed appearance of mayhem, because they are always seen meeting in storms, which are usually very chaotic and unruly. The witches also meet in a dark cave, which is a symbol of hell and the underworld, giving them an evil image. At one point in the play, they are also described as "dark as midnight." The witches are also shown around a cauldron, performing magic spells, and chanting, which depicts them as frightful and obscure. Though all of the witches’ prophecies came true, the

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