What is an example of hyperbole used in Macbeth?  

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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One example of hyperbole is employed by Lady Macbeth when she is trying to encourage her husband to go through with the murder of Duncan. Reminding him that he has vowed to do what is necessary to gain the throne of Scotland, she uses extreme language to tell Macbeth what she would do before breaking a vow:

I have given suck, and know
How tender ’tis to love the babe that milks me: 
I would, while it was smiling in my face, 
Have pluck'd my nipple from his boneless gums, 
And dash'd the brains out, had I so sworn as you 
Have done to this.

By saying she would murder her own baby before giving in to fear, Lady Macbeth is attempting to shame her husband. She is driven, ambitious, maybe even evil, but I would argue that she overstates her case in this passage. Another very straightforward example might be from the "out damn'd spot" scene in Act V, when Lady Macbeth says that "all the perfumes of Arabia" will not remove the smell of blood and death from her hands. 


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