In Shakespeare's play Macbeth, the symbol of blood is portrayed often, and with different meanings. This symbol is developed throughout the play and is a dominating theme. .
The symbol of blood changes throughout the play, and follows the character changes in Macbeth. At first, he is a brave honored soldier, but as the play progresses, he becomes a treacherous person who has become identified with death and bloodshed and is stained with guilt. The first reference of blood is one of bravery, and occurs when Duncan sees the injured sergeant and says "What bloody man is that?". In the next passage, the sergeant says "Which smok'd with bloody execution", he is referring to Macbeth's braveness in which his sword is covered in the blood of the enemy. .
The symbol of blood now changes to show a theme of treachery and treason. Lady Macbeth starts this off when she asks the spirits to "make thick my blood,". What she is saying by this, is that she wants to make herself insensitive and remorseless for the deeds which she is about to commit. Lady Macbeth knows that the evidence of blood is a treacherous symbol, and knows it will deflect the guilt from her and Macbeth to the servants when she says "smear the sleepy grooms with blood.", and "If he do bleed, I'll gild the faces of the grooms withal, for it must seem their guilt." .
Perhaps the most vivid use of the symbol blood, is of the theme of guilt. Macbeth hints at his guilt when he says "Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood clean from my hand?", meaning that he wondered if he would ever be able to forget the deed that he had committed. Then the ghost of Banquo, all gory, and bloody comes to haunt Macbeth at the banquet. The sight of apparitions represents his guilt for the murder of Banquo which he planned. Macbeth shows his guilt when he says "It is the bloody business which informs thus," he could not get the courage to say murder after he had killed Duncan, so he says this instead.