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Macbeth - Literary Devices

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by

Sophie Cho

on 13 March 2014

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Transcript of Macbeth - Literary Devices

ANTITHESIS
METAPHOR
“Here’s a knocking indeed! If a man were porter of
hell-gate
, he should have old turning the key” (2.3, 1-2)
DRAMATIC IRONY

Fail not
our feast” (3.1, 28)
ALLITERATION
“But now I am
cabined
,
cribbed
,
confined
, bound in
To saucy doubts and fears” (3.4, 23-24)
PERSONIFICATION
“Each new morn,
New widows howl, new orphans cry,
new sorrows
Strike heaven on the face, that it resounds
As if it felt with Scotland, and yelled out
Like syllable of dolour
” (4.3, 6-8)
Macbeth
Zoë T-S
Sophie Cho

LITERARY DEVICES PROJECT
HYPERBOLE
“Will
all

great Neptune’s ocean
wash this blood
Clean from my hand? No, this my hand will rather
The multitudinous seas incarnadine,
Making the green one red” (2.2, 57-60)
REPETITION
“It will have
blood
, they say,
blood
will have
blood
” (3.4, 122)
AMBIGUITY
“Be bloody, bold and resolute: laugh to scorn
The power of man, for
none of woman born
Shall harm Macbeth
./Macbeth shall never be vanquished be,
until
Great Birnam wood to high Dunsinane hill
Shall come against him
” (4.1, 79-81 and 92-94)
“Here’s the smell of the blood still:
all the
perfumes of Arabia
will not sweeten this little
hand. Oh! oh! oh!” (5.1, 50-53)
- the drunk Porter, impatient at the ceaseless knocking

- Macbeth, after murdering Duncan
- Lady Macbeth, sleepwalking in front of the Gentlewoman and the Doctor

- Macbeth, telling Banquo to be at his feast
“O!
full of scorpions
is my mind, dear wife!” (3.2, 36)
- Macbeth, talking to Lady Macbeth before the feast

- Macbeth, after finding out that Fleance has escaped
- Macbeth, after seeing Banquo’s ghost at the feast

“You see, her eyes are
open
./
Ay, but their sense are
shut
” (5.1, 25-26)
- Doctor and Gentle-woman, observing Lady Macbeth as she sleepwalks
The metaphor here is clear: Inverness, Macbeth’s castle, is
Hell
.
There are many references of Heaven and Hell throughout the play, and this metaphor paints the image of a “
hell-gate
” in relation to Inverness’ gates. This scene takes place right after the
murder
of Duncan and the framing of his guards by the Macbeth’s, which mark the beginning of Macbeth’s
sinful
acts. Macbeth is turning into a tyrant – the lord of
Hell
.
Macbeth expresses to Lady Macbeth that he is
tormented
by the thought of Banquo and Fleance, who, by living, threaten his hold on the kingdom. Therefore, unbeknownst to Lady Macbeth, he has just hired murderers to kill them. This metaphor reveals that, like a scorpion, his mind is skittery with
paranoia
, and he is ready to strike anybody who poses a threat to him. Macbeth is spiraling into
madness
; and, similarly to a scorpion, he is
poisonous
.
Both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth are expressing their
despair
; they feel like they will never be able to clear their consciences. Although these two passages take place three acts apart, when juxtaposed like such, they show the enormous effect Duncan’s
murder
– and for Lady Macbeth, all of Macbeth’s
bloody
actions following this event – have had on their minds. They are plagued by the
guilt
; they will never be able to wash the stains of what they have done from their hands. One of the two themes that are prominent in the play,
blood
, appears in both passages.
Following Duncan’s murder, Lady Macbeth first seems unfazed, quoting that “a little water clears us of this deed” (2.2, 67); however, as she sleepwalks, she echoes Macbeth in saying that nothing, not “
all great Neptune’s ocean
” nor “
all the perfumes of Arabia
”, will erase the atrocities that have come to pass. These hyperboles demonstrate the great weight of their guilty consciences and how that
guilt
is eating away at their minds.
The discorded ‘c’ alliterations go hand in hand with Macbeth’s discorded thoughts, and bring more emphasis to his feelings of
doubt
and
fear
after hearing that Fleance has fled. Macbeth’s previous confidence vanishes; he has failed to get rid of Banquo’s heir. This takes place during the banquet, and upon receiving news about Banquo’s
murder
and his son’s escape, Macbeth’s
guilt
is lit afresh, and he sees the apparition of Banquo’s ghost.
On the surface, this passage is simply saying that Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking. Her eyes are open, but her mind is elsewhere – some place deep in her unconscious. This antithesis of “open but shut” also reveals just how much the events since Duncan’s murder have worn her seemingly
unshakable
mentality.
Macbeth tells Banquo to be back in time for the banquet when he is secretly plotting to
kill him
beforehand.
Macbeth is
paranoid
enough to kill his closest friend and his young son in order to secure his place on the throne. This is the second
murder
of which Macbeth is personally responsible.
This quote exemplifies the very core of the play in many ways. For Macduff, it means the
blood
of Macduff’s family will result in the
blood
of Macbeth (revenge). For Macbeth, it signifies his inability to stop killing once he has started and how the ghosts of those he has killed haunt him. The repetition of the word
blood
is also meant to emphasize the
violent
, dark themes of the play.
When Macbeth goes to the Witches in search of reassurance, he gets what he wants – or so it seems. What he does not know is that the Witches purposefully word their prophecies in a way that will lure Macbeth into a false sense of security that will eventually lead to his
downfall
.
- the Witches, telling Macbeth their prophecies
Through Macduff’s description of Scotland under Macbeth’s rule, we are given an idea to the extent of his
merciless
behaviour. His
tyrannous
acts prompt
hatred
from many, and his
slaughter
of Macduff’s family solidifies his own death. It also shows us how far Macbeth has fallen from his status of honourable soldier since the beginning of the play.
- Macduff, approaching Malcolm for help in defeating Macbeth
Full transcript