In Act 1 of Macbeth, what is an example of imagery, symbol, or diction?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Let us remember that imagery is any passage or section that paints a strong image with the words that it uses so that we are able to picture the scene in our head. Of course, a number of different techniques can be used to create good imagery, but have a look at this example from Act I scene 2, when the Sergeant describes to King Duncan what has been happening in the battle that he has just come from and the state of the two armies and their conflict:

Doubtful it stood;
As two spent swimmers, that do cling together
And choke their art.

The Sergeant chooses to use this excellent example of imagery to describe what is going on with the conflict. He compares both armies to two exahusted swimmers that are trying to wrestle with each other and choke the other, but are finding it difficult because they are so absolutely exhausted and have no energy left. Such imagery helps us to really visualise the action being described and to picture it in our mind's eye.


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