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The Animal Within Us All

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The Animal Within us All

In many of Shakespeare’s literature, the vocabulary used creates a mental picture that provides significance of meaning to the reader. This meaning furthers the understanding of the literature and provides a visually descriptive image. In William Shakespeare’s Macbeth, imagery is used to convey what is happening in the play’s acts. Animal imagery is a major concept in the play and uses the images of animals to characterize the play’s human characters. Each animal has a specific meaning behind it and creates a certain tone for the audience. Animal imagery is used to represent qualities in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth such as the evil within that reveals throughout the play, the temptation that leads to Macbeth’s death and the chaos deep down within us all.

At the very beginning of the play, we learn that Lady Macbeth is ruthless and will do anything to get to the top with her husband. From the start, Lady Macbeth gives off the impression of being “evil”. She convinces her husband to kill Duncan and continue to do evil things and follow the pathway of destruction. The evil represented in Lady Macbeth comes out in a animal form when this is quoted, “The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan.” (I, V, 41-42) It is obvious that the raven represents the evil deed that is about to happen. The messenger represents the raven, and he is bringing the news that Duncan is on his way to the Macbeth’s. Little does the messenger know that Lady Macbeth is thrilled to hear this message because it means her and her husband will soon be King and Queen. She thinks excitedly about killing Duncan and how she will soon be royalty. This cruel minded thinking leads directly to her inner evilness and what depths she would go to just to become more higher up in ranking. The raven is closely connected to Lady Macbeth, because ravens are symbols of death, evil, darkness and destructive characteristics, all of which Lady Macbeth acquire throughout the play.

When we first meet Macbeth, he is depicted as a loyal, respectful, trustworthy person that the King, Duncan, and many others like as a person and reward him for his bravery and kindness. As the play goes on, Macbeth’s true colours begin to show. An “evil”, that no one expected to be portrayed in Macbeth’s character began to arise within him. The first act of evil that we see is when he kills Duncan. This trait begins to grow and we see it occur more and more within the play. “It was the owl that shriek’d, the fatal bellman, which gives the stern’st good night.” (II, ii, 5-6) This is very significant in the play because in England the hoot of an owl flying over someone’s house was an evil omen, and meant impending death for someone inside. Shakespeare refers to the owl as the “fatal bellman" because it was the bellman’s job to ring the parish bell when a person in the town was near death. This was how we knew Duncan was officially dead and Macbeth had committed the crime. His inner evilness overcame him and the thought of becoming King was too good.

Macbeth was a great person at the start of the play and even was considered a hero to some. Although he always had a weakness that would lead to his downfall and in the end his death. This was a mixture of temptation and ambition. “To prick the sides of my intent, but only vaulting ambition, which o’erleaps itself and falls on the other.” (I, Vii, 26-28) In this quote, Macbeth realizes he has no justification to kill King Duncan. He discusses the reasons of why not to kill himself, and then admits to himself that the only reason he would commit such



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