Thursday, August 6, 2015

Shakespeare's Literary Techniques #2: SYMBOLISM (and a Shakespeare Trivia Question)

Symbolism is the use of specific images, objects, or people to represent abstract ideas.

MACBETH uses darkness to symbolize evil. In the middle of the day, when the sun would be expected to shine, "dark night strangles the traveling lamp" (II, iv), perhaps as the result of an eclipse.

You can argue that darkness also represents corruption and death in this play. Shakespeare was fond of fusing multiple, interconnected ideas into a single symbol. He also linked contrasting symbols: the opposite of darkness, light, is used to represent life. Elsewhere in the play, in a speech that appears in the film BIRDMAN, life is compared to a candle that's snuffed out.


For a clip of the new MACBETH film, click here.

For a discussion of iterative (repeating) imagery in MACBETH, click here.

Trivia question: What actor originated the role of Macbeth?