I am going to prove that in the play Macbeth, a symbol of blood is portrayed often(and with different meanings), and that it is a symbol that is developed until it is the dominating theme of the play towards the end of it. .
To begin with, I found the word "blood", or different forms of it forty-two times (ironically, the word fear is used forty-two times), with several other passages dealing with the symbol. Perhaps the best way to show how the symbol of blood changes throughout the play, is to follow the character changes in Macbeth. First he is a brave honoured soldier, but as the play progresses, he becomes a treacherous person who has become identified with death and bloodshed and shows his guilt in different forms. .
The first reference of blood is one of honour, and occurs when Duncan sees the injured sergeant and says "What bloody man is that?". This is symbolic of the brave fighter who been injured in a valiant battle for his country. In the next passage, in which the sergeant says "Which smok'd with bloody execution", he is referring to Macbeth's braveness in which his sword is covered in the hot blood of the enemy. .
After these few references to honour, 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." When Banquo states "and question this most bloody piece of work," and Ross says "is't known who did this more than bloody deed?", they are both inquiring as to who performed the treacherous acts upon Duncan.