Guilt is a dark shadow which follows us all, especially Macbeth in William Shakespeares ‘Macbeth’. Motifs and symbolism are such an important way of highlighting this crushing guilt on society and ourselves.
When we see blood which we have caused we are drowned in the guilt and upset that we did that, especially Macbeth. When Macbeth says ‘will all great Neptunes ocean wash this blood clean from my hands.’ In William Shakespeare ‘Macbeth’, we can see how guilt can plague the mind like poison. the use of symbolism highlights how such a simple thing of blood on the hands can trick the mind. William Shakespeare uses this symbolism to highlight how are guilt plagues our innocent minds. In the play, Macbeth is a noble soldier so is used to blood on his hands but Shakespeare uses this to show how our innocents and morals can be broken. The use of Neptune’s ocean shows the use of how Shakespeare wants to highlight the regret Macbeth has for his actions and how all actions have consequences.
Another way William Shakespeare ’ Macbeth ’ highlights guilt is through the use of sleep. When Macbeth says ‘full of scorpions in my mind.’ We can see how plagued he is with the regret and guilt he has become. This use of symbolism emphasises how the idea of guilt can play a massive part in our innocents and purity. Shakespeare uses sleep as an important symbolism as in the time in which the play came out sleep deprivation was known as the cause of insanity. Sleep deprivation is a known cause of insanity and Shakespeare uses this to show us the length a person will go if they are lacking sleep. Guilt plagues the mind and with lack of sleep, this is an evil combination.
The final way Shakespeare highlights the corruption of guilt is through the use of hallucinations and how sleep deprivation can have a massive effect on this. When William Shakespeare states through the quote ‘her eyes are open, her sense are shut’. We can see how the use of hallucinations is used. Another way is when Macbeth sees Banquo at the feast. Banquo has died. But Macbeth’s guilt and lack of sleep make him believe Banquo is alive. The use of symbolism in both these acts/scenes highlights to use how both lack of sleep and hallucinations work together to corrupt the mind. This highlights to use how Shakespeare shows us how once one thing goes wrong are mind is torn. As all these symbolism show us how fragile the human mind is and how easy guilt can destroy us.
Through the use of symbolism in William Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth,’ we can see how easy the human mind can be plagued with guilt and how we are stuck in this darkness until our last day.