In Act III, Scene I of Macbeth (and only scene I please), what are the literary devices used?I cannot find that many and I know that they are everywhere.  Please help!

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mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In Act II, Scene I of Macbeth there are these literary devices:

  • Banquo, after congratulating Macbeth on being King, speaks to Macbeth in metaphor:  "I must become a borrower of the night" (26) 
  • With figurative language, Banquo says that he will be gone for a "dark hour or twain" (27) 
  • Macbeth,too, uses a figure of speech as he says, "We hear our bloody cousins are bestowed/In England..." (29-30)
  • Macbeth uses a metaphor as he says, "Let every man be master of his time" (40)


  • Macbeth uses a simile:  My genius is rebuked, it is said/Mark Antony's was by Caesar"  (57)
  • Macbeth uses metaphors:  Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown/And put a barren scepter in my gripe [meaning he has no heirs] (61,62)
  • Macbeth uses synedoche:  "Then to be wrenched with an unlineal hand" (the hand represents his body and descendants)
  • Macbeth uses metaphors: "the vessel of my peace...and mine eternal jewel [soul]" (68-69)


  • Macbeth employs a simile:  "Ay, in the catlogue ye go for men;/As hounds and greyhounds, mongrels, spaniels, curs...(93-94)
  • Macbeth employs figures of speech:  "barefaced power" (119) "dark hour" (137) [Banquo's] soul's flight (141)
dstuva's profile pic

Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Concerning your question about Shakespeare's Macbeth, I'll just start at the beginning of the scene and list a few devices for you.

  • Soliloquy--Banquo's opening speech
  • Repetition--"As the Weird Women promised"
  • Metaphor--"played'st"
  • Metaphor--"stand"
  • Metaphor--"root"
  • Metaphor--"shine"
  • Metaphor--"gap"
  • Metaphor--"Forever knit"
  • Metaphor--"take"
  • Metaphor--"fill up"
  • Metaphor--"borrower of the night"

You get the idea, and that's enough of metaphor.  Irony is also involved at the beginning of the scene.  When Macbeth tells Banquo not to miss the feast tonight, that is ironic because Macbeth knows Banquo will not be at the feast tonight, since he's going to have him killed.  The same irony occurs when Macbeth tells Banquo that the two of them will discuss Malcolm and Donaldbain on the next day. 

Finally, I'll "throw in" some personification.  When Macbeth says that Banquo's wisdom does "guide his valor" (Act 3.1.55) he is personifying valor, just as he personifies genius when he says "My genius is rebuked" (Act 3.1.58).


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