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A Brief Look at Symbolism

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Essay title: A Brief Look at Symbolism

In almost everything we read and hear there is symbolism. Every great work of art has some sort of symbolism in it; it’s the same with the music we listen to. If we read about a character in a novel venturing into a dark alley, there is always much more to it; out minds won’t just allow us to imagine just the words, we see much more. We may feel how the character feels or even remember a smell of a time we have gone through the same thing. Of all of the great writers in history, none have used symbolism as well as William Shakespeare. One of his greatest works, Macbeth, has a dark, brooding feel throughout the whole thing; he used symbolism to attain this achievement.

From the very beginning of the play, we experience Shakespeare chilling symbolism. The play opens on a dark, stormy night in Scotland’s forests. Three haggard witches wait in the fog for Macbeth to arrive. Lightning crashes above Macbeth as he approaches the withes. This is a very important scene for the play. If he didn’t set up just the right setting, it would have been dull and uninteresting. Who wants to read about three women standing in the middle of a field mumbling to themselves? No one does. It’s this kind of symbolism that keeps the reader interested throughout the play.

In act two, when Banquo and Fleance visit the castle and the king is “asleep”, the dark hallway is a very ominous place. This is the same place where Macbeth sees the vision of the floating dagger. The dagger is also a very symbolic element in Macbeth’s guilt. It shows that someday the same thing will happen to him. The dagger is pointing towards him and he can’t grab it, this shows that someone else is holding the dagger this time.

In act three, when Banquo and Fleance are murdered, the setting is dark and flooded with trees. The three men creep through the night, as Banquo and son approach the castle. The setting is exciting and ominous. It keeps the reader captivated

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