What writing/poetic techniques are used during Macbeth's dagger speech in Act 2, Scene 1 in Shakespeare's Macbeth?
1 Answer | Add Yours
Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.
Thou marshall'st me the way that I was going;
And such an instrument I was to use.
Mine eyes are made the fools o' the other senses,
Or else worth all the rest; I see thee still,
And on thy blade and dudgeon gouts of blood,
Which was not so before. There's no such thing:
It is the bloody business which informs
Thus to mine eyes.
This is the text of Macbeth's solo speech in act 2 scene 1, the speech that verbalises Macbeth's vision of the air-drawn dagger. So far as poetic techniques are concerned, the entire speech is an example of vision. It is a rhetorical device to explore the imaginative vision of a personage when nothing really exists before the physical eyes. The dagger that Macbeth sees here is but a visionary product of his over-heated imagination. Another figurative technique used is called apostrophe in which the speaker addresses someone dead or absent, or a non-human object as if the person/object is present before the speaker. Here Macbeth addresses a shadowy dagger and seems to look for its responses. On further examination, you will find a number of questions asked by Macbeth:
This is yet another poetic technique: use of rhetorical questions, called interrogation. These questions contain answers implied in the questions themselves.
Over and above, the entire speech is in the form of a dramatic solo speech, called soliloquy.
Join to answer this question
Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.Join eNotes