Macbeth Motifs

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  • Macbeth Motifs
    • Blood
      • "What bloody man is that?" (1.2.1)
        • Because the sergeant has just come from the battle and he speaks to Duncan of Macbeth's heroism. Duncan hears all of Macbeth's actions through the sergeants descriptions.
        • Duncan with his sons  sees a "bleeding Sergeant" and converses with him about Macbeth.
      • I see thee still, / And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood, / Which was not so before" (2.1.45-47)
        • Before killing Duncan he hallucinates the floating dagger and begins to see blood form on the hilt.
        • Macbeth is talking to the floating dagger which in turn means he is talking to himself.
      • "our bloody cousins" (3.1.29) and refers to his cousins as "bloody." After he became king the cousins fled and he is emphasizing their guilt.
        • Macbeth is conversing with banquo shortly after becoming king.
        • After he became king the cousins fled and he is emphasizing their guilt with the use of "bloody" as his descriptive word.
    • Birds
      • "The raven himself is hoarse / That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan / Under my battlements" (1.5.38-40)
        • Lady Macbeth is speaking to herself about the imminent death of Duncan.
        • Lady Macbeth refers to the raven as hoarse because it has been sporadically declaring the death of Duncan that its voice has been lost.
      • This guest of summer,The temple-haunting martlet, does approve,By his loved mansionry, that the heaven's breathSmells wooingly here: no jutty, frieze,Buttress, nor coign of vantage, but this birdHath made his pendant bed and procreant cradle.   (1.6.3-8)
        • Banquo is talking with Duncan on how beautiful the day is.
        • Banquo refers to the martlet now because it has made his comfortable and permanent home on the buttress of the beautiful castle
      • "Hark! Peace! / It was the owl that shriek'd, the fatal bellman, / Which gives the stern'st good-night. He is about it" (2.2.2-4)
        • Lady Macbeth talks to herself as she listens to the air.
        • The cry of the owl symbolized the death of Duncan and Lady Macbeth is happy because of it.

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