Literary Devices Used In Macbeth Essay example

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Literary Devices used in Macbeth

Imagine how dull a Shakespearean play would be without the ingenious literary devices and techniques that contribute so much to the fulfillment of its reader or viewer. Macbeth, by William Shakespeare, is a tragedy that combines fact and legend to tell the story of an eleventh century king. Shakespeare uses numerous types of literary techniques to make this tragic play more appealing. Three literary devices that Shakespeare uses to make Macbeth more interesting and effective are irony, symbolism, and imagery. One technique that Shakespeare uses is irony. Verbal irony is when a character says one thing but means the opposite. When a reader understands the irony of what a character is saying, then
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Irony, a key element to a tragic play like Macbeth, has the ability to make the tragic hero appear more villainous or the down-fall seem even more tragic. The second type of literary device that Shakespeare uses in Macbeth is symbolism. The predominant symbol is blood and is used as an effective method to describe the theme of the play. Not only does blood symbolize bravery, it is also a means of showing treachery and treason and probably most importantly, guilt. One example of bravery occurs when the captain says, "For brave Macbeth—well he deserves that name--/Disdaining fortune, with his brandished steel,/Which smoked with bloody execution"(1.2.16-18). Soon after this blood changes into a representation of treachery and treason. Lady Macbeth asks the spirits to "Make thick my blood,/ Stop up th’ access and passage to remorse" (1.5. 43-44). She asks the spirits to take away compassion and make her remorseless for the actions she is about to take. Also, when Ross asks, "Is’t known who did this more than bloody deed?" (2.4.22), he tries to figure out who performed the disloyal act of murdering the king. Blood is also used many times to express the guilt-ridden consciences of the characters. For instance, Macbeth says, "What hands are here? Ha! They pluck out mine own eyes!/ Will all great Neptune’s ocean wash the blood/ Clean from my hand?" (2.3.58-60). Macbeth obviously feels guilty for killing Duncan in cold blood. Later in the play, Lady Macbeth
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