Lady Macbeth Symbols Of Guilt: Unveiling The Blood-Stained Path


I think the main purpose and focus of Macbeth is guilt, not punishment and crime. Both Lady Macbeth and Macbeth suffer from the opening act to the final act. The crimes that are committed are all linked to Macbeth’s quest for power. His actions and decisions are influenced by guilt and his wife. His choices will lead to his downfall and the death of himself and his wife. In this play, there are many themes, but guilt is one of the most significant ones. In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, the theme of guilt is shown through Lady Macbeth, blood imagery, and Macbeth’s internal conflict with himself.

The Manipulative Force of Ambition

Lady Macbeth is a forceful character who will do anything to have her way. Once she has their way, she is consumed in guilt. Her desire for Macbeth to become King is even greater than Macbeth’s own desire. Throughout the play, Macbeth is pressured into committing unforgivable acts to achieve the throne of King Duncan. An example of Lady Macbeth pressuring Macbeth is in Act 1, scene 7 when Lady Macbeth questions her husband’s manhood and makes him feel less of a man by saying, “When you durst do it, then you were a man” She is further trying to convince by telling him he will be “more than what you were, you would” If he killed King Duncan. Lady Macbeth then shows her guilt towards the deaths of Duncan, Banquo, Lady Macduff, and her family. Lady Macbeth’s guilty conscience is revealed in Act 2 Scene 3 when she recites, ‘Had he not resembled My father, as he slept, I had done.’ She claims she would have done it, but King Duncan Looks too much like her father, so she couldn’t kill him. Lady Macbeth displays her guilt again in Act 5, scene 1 when she is sleepwalking. She discussed her feelings and talked about her guilt. Lady Macbeth shows this guilt when she says, “Wash your hands, put on your nightgown. Look not so pale. I tell you yet again, Banquo’s buried; he cannot come out on’s grave” (Act 5 Scene 1). This shows how Lady Macbeth is constantly thinking about the deaths that she was part of. Even though it was a long time ago, the guilt still weighs on her shoulders, and the feeling of guilt is taking over her life and ultimately causes her to commit suicide. Lady Macbeth shows her guilt throughout this whole play.

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Blood is also a constant symbol of guilt and a significant image in the play and occurs throughout the 5 acts. Blood also represents murder, which results in guilt in Macbeth and Lady Macbeth. He is hesitant to commit this murder on King Duncan, but with the help of Lady Macbeth’s persistence and nonstop begging, he ends up murdering the King. Macbeth makes the choice to kill Duncan. The blood on his hands shows an image and feeling of guilt. Finally, blood is also shown through the murders that were committed.


In conclusion, Shakespeare displays guilt through various acts of imagery and detailed description words in the play. The theme of guilt is expressed by Lady Macbeth through the image and Macbeth’s self-conflict. Guilt is a major factor in people’s lives and will continue to haunt the characters of Macbeth for a long time. Guilt can be a result of many things, as it is a feeling that remains forever. Macbeth commits this poor action just to be happy, but in the end, he is only left with much remorse.


  1. “Lady Macbeth” by Susan Fraser King

  2. “Lady Macbeth: A Novel” by Susan Lake

  3. Lady Macbeth: Gender, Power, and Isolation” by Lois Potter

Nemo Me Impune Lacessit’: The Drive For Justice In “The Cask Of Amontillado”

Montresor’s Quest for Justice: The Insult and Revenge

Edgar Allan Poe created a theme surrounding many types of justice in “The Cask of Amontillado.” I concluded that the theme would be justice by how Montresor sought revenge, in how justice was served, and that justice is finally served in Montresor’s eyes. First, Montrsor is determined to get revenge on Fortunato for his wrongdoings. Poe States, “A thousand injuries of Fortunato I had Borne as I best could, but when he ventured upon insult, I vowed revenge” (Poe); in this statement, he is showing how hurt and angered he is by Montresor’s words and how he had now vowed revenge on him for such actions. Montresor states from the beginning that Fortunato has insulted him, along with all his injuries. He wanted justice for himself. “The story is told in the first person narrator who claims that Fortunato hurt him by insulting him” (Poe), clearly, but this only takes the readers in circles as they cannot tell the authenticity of Montresor’s claims. Even though this is not clear, he still plans to take revenge on Fortunato.

As the story progresses, Monstresor lures Fortunato to the catacomb of the Family house, where he keeps the wine and leads Fortunato deeper and deeper into the catacomb and makes him tank up along the way. Monstresor suggests that Fortunato is not fit to go deep; Fortunato is more focused on the Amontillado until he gets the giant hole that is part of the bricks, which symbolizes the casket that he was buried in and hence the name the Cask. The story’s title holds two symbols: the casket from the Cask and the Amontillado, representing the two bases of Fortunato’s death. He is very sloshed, and hitherto, he still agrees to go with Montresor because he knows that the trip will mean free wine or a demeaned Montresor.

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Symbols and Significance: “Nemo Me Impune Lacessit”

The motto of the Montresor Family was another symbol that Fortunato would have needed. However, his love for wine did not allow him to read between the lines because he was focused on finding the Amontillado. “Nemo me impune lacessit” (Poe) meant that anyone who does anything questionable would be punished with impunity. The family’s emblem has the head of a serpent as it daggers into a leg. Montresor follows suit by destroying the serpent, killing Fortunato, who has been insulting him.

The characters’ names are one more form of symbolism that Poe uses to make the reader move further away from Fortunato, as the narrator is Montresor. Funtato represents the Fortunate, but whatever happens to him in the story does not mean being lucky because Motresor traps him and is then killed. Mostresor, on the other hand, means slow fate according to the romance languages, but he portrayed a different character. His pleasure comes from hurting other people, and he signifies revenge in other men’s eyes. His treasure lies in killing Fortunato, and he believes that for the freedom of one character, the other must be dead.


  1. Poe, E. A. (1846). The cask of Amontillado. [Short Story]. In Works of Edgar Allan Poe.

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