10th November 2018

exam essay practice 1

question 5: describe at least one important object or symbol in the written text. Explain why this object or symbol helped you understand at least one character.

‘Stars, hide your fires; Let not light see my black and deep desires’
‘As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands.’
‘Out, damned spot! out, I say!’
‘Macbeth does murder sleep’

Important symbols shown throughout the play Macbeth is blood, which is the symbol for murder and guilt, light and dark which are the symbols for good and evil, and sleep which is the symbol for peace of mind and innocence. These symbols help us understand the characters Macbeth and Lady Macbeth because they forget about their morals to follow their ambition which is to have power.

An example of when we are shown the symbol for good and evil is through this quote ‘stars hide your fires; let not light see my black and deep desires’.  good is repesented through the word light and evil is through the word black. This quote is said by Macbeth after King Duncan has named his son then next in line for the crown and macbeth the Prince of Cumberland. Macbeth earlier on in the day had been told by three witches that he would become King. With this in mind Macbeth knows that he has to kill King Duncan in order for him to become king. Because murder is an evil thing, Macbeth is trying to hide it from the good people, which is shown in this part of the  quote ‘ let not light see my black and deep desires’. Macbeth’s deep desire is to become King, it is his ambition to have power. This quote shows us that Macbeth is the type of character who won’t let anything stand in his way when he wants to succeed in getting his ambition.

An example where blood is used as an symbol is in these two quotes ‘As they had seen me with these hangman’s hands’, and ‘Out, damned spot! out, I say!’ Both of these quotes use blood as a symbol. The first quote is from Macbeth, he says this after he has killed King Duncan. ‘hangman’s hands’ is talking about that his hands are a weapon of murder. Because Macbeth’s hands are covered in blood from killing the King, we are shown a visible representation Macbeth’s guilt from killing the King. Blood is used as a symbol for guilt, which Macbeth immediately feels. Because Macbeth can see the blood of the King on his hands he his given a reminder of his guilt. The second quote is from Lady Macbeth, she says this quote as she is sleep walking. As she says the quote she is trying to rub the blood off from her hands, but there is no blood on her hands, just the guilt from the murder of King Duncan. The guilt from the murder has affected Lady Macbeth as is drives her to her death. From these two quotes we are able to see that both characters do put their morals aside for their ambitions but they are then haunted by their morals, which is the result of Lady Macbeth’s death and Macbeths mind breaking down.

An example where sleep is used as a symbol is when Macbeth kills King Duncan and says ‘Macbeth does murder sleep’. Sleep is an symbol for peace of mind and because Macbeth and Lady Macbeth killed the king in his sleep, his spirit is unable to rest, which then also has the effect on Lady macbeth and Macbeth. We are shown the idea that macbeth has murdered sleep for himself when he has nightmares, his mind is uneasy and full of guilt and regret of killing the King that it haunts him in his sleep. The idea where we are shown that Lady Macbeth has murdered sleep for herself is when she sleepwalks and talks. This drives her insane because the feeling of guilt has taken over her mind to a point where she isn’t safe in her sleep. This quote shows us that even though both of these characters want to complete their ambition, they still think about their morals subconsciously, which causes them to not sleep peacefully.

Important symbols throughout the play are blood, light and dark and sleep. Each of these symbols hold a deeper meaning to them, giving us the stories to help us understand the characters more. We are shown that Lady Macbeth and Macbeth will push their morals away in order for their ambitions to come true, but then they face the consequences of pushing away their morals which end up in their death, this shows us that the characters will do anything for their ambitions to come true.

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