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Literary Devices of MacBeth


Mike Requeno

on 12 March 2015

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Transcript of Literary Devices of MacBeth

by Mike Requeno
Literary Devices for Macbeth
Bloody Daggers and Hands
Macbeth and Banquo
"Fair is foul,
and foul is fair"
In this play, Shakespeare utilizes the daggers and hands of Macbeth as symbols of guilt and murder
For lady Macbeth, her guilt in aiding murder had driven her to insanity when she dreamed of a blood stain that she could not wash off her hand
For Macbeth himself, his thoughts about murder had led to the imaginary dagger, covered in blood no less, pointing him in the direction of the king's chambers
this can be found when lady Macbeth states:
"He that's coming
Must be provided for"
to Duncan, the guest, this is a warm welcome
but for Macbeth and his lady, they have means to murder him
throughout the story, Macbeth and his lady believe that they will achieve great happiness if they proceed with murder of Duncan
the true outcome, however, is that they are tormented and cursed by their terrible deeds in illusions and dreams
In addition, lady Macbeth considers herself as "strong" and Macbeth as "weak"
The results, on the other hand, prove that she couldn't handle the guilt of murder and was driven to insanity
Macbeth actually has the courage to still press on forward, unlike her
"Look like the innocent flower but be the serpent under it"
said by Lady Macbeth to her husband before meeting their guest
"O full of scorpions is my mind, my dear wife"
said by Macbeth to his lady
Comic Relief
Banquo and Macbeth are foils to contrast and highlight their personalities
When the witches predicted Banquo's fate, saying he will:

"father a line of kings, though he will be none himself"

Banquo easily accepts this, and lets destiny takes its path
Macbeth, on the other hand, heard the very same prediction for him

The difference is that he will take desperate measures to assure his future will take a certain path

In response, he kills many people he thought were in his way, including Banquo
This was quoted by the three sisters at the beginning of the play, to set an ominous tone for the audience
"Show his eyes, and grieve his heart;
Come like shadows, so depart."
"Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble."
Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air."
The significance of this quote refers to foreshadowing as those who seem noble are corrupt, such as Macbeth himself.
The Porter (Gatekeeper)
In this grim tale, there is one bit of comic relief where a porter rambles on about the effects of drinking, being drunk himself

This bit of humor prepares the audience to "dive deeper" into this dark play, as it only gets worse
~"Act natural."
(emphasis mind as poison)
In conclusion, Shakespeare utilizes all of these literary devices for a few purposes:

For one, it is to establsih a very morbid and mysterious tone using paradoxes, irony, foreshadow, and metaphors.
Also, symbolism and foils are created to give the audience an idea of the message of this story:

Evil deeds, no matter how hidden, will always come back to haunt those who don't learn from their mistakes. And that concludes my presentation for Macbeth, by Shakespeare. Thank you for listening.
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