The Imagery of Death

A short blog on one of my favourite quotations of all time:

“Put out the light, and then, put out the light…”

 This famous quotation from Macbeth inspires a sense of terrible dread, and yet, often when asked what it means most cannot explain. It is quite possibly also one of the most gothic quotations of all time although the genre did not exist at the time of Shakespeare’s writing. It utilises the classic symbolism of light in darkness being snuffed out and is (in my personal opinion) one of the most powerful metaphors in English language. However, although it is powerful and striking, the metaphor is almost entirely unambiguous – its meaning? – The first part of the sentence refers to the literal ‘light’ in Duncan’s bedroom, which Macbeth exstinguishes. But then the repetition of the second light evidently refers to the ‘light of life’ which Macbeth is about to put out forever.

 Similarly in Dark Age Heroes, we see the use of ‘change’ to signify death. In Macbeth’s example it is light to darkness, in Dark Age Heroes it is colouration:

“The flowers around Siegfried had turned from sky-blue to red as the blood soaked them through and through. And so, at that moment death’s cold and cruel armaments pierced Siegfried”


2 thoughts on “The Imagery of Death

    1. Ah, you are quite, quite right! The same metaphorical principle could apply still, but yes I have become mixed up with the other famous quotation from Macbeth: “Out, out brief candle…” My aplogies and thank you for pointing it out.

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