In Act I scene 2 of Macbeth, the bleeding sergeant utilizes a number of comparisons to describe the progress of the battle.Choose at least two metaphors which you consider to be especially...

In Act I scene 2 of Macbeth, the bleeding sergeant utilizes a number of comparisons to describe the progress of the battle.

Choose at least two metaphors which you consider to be especially effective and explain fully the comparisons drawn.

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

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To my mind, the very vivid account of the battle that the Captain gives to Duncan and the other Lords is only enriched by the description given and the metaphors and similes used. The Captain uses language well to convey the precarious nature of the battle and also to emphasise the boldness and strength of some of Duncan's Lords.

Firstly, note how the Captain responds to Duncan's initial question of what is happening on the battlefield:

Doubtful it stood;

As two spent swimmers, that do cling together

And choke their art.

This comparison is effective because of the way it adds a real sense of tension to the battle. Comparing the two sides to two exhausted swimmers who are clinging to each other and trying to choke the "art" of the other, he presents the battle as being evenly matched and with no sign of one side being stronger than the other. This creates tension as we wait to see what happens.

Secondly, note how the Captain describes the impact of the Norwegian attack on the Scottish forces and on Banquo and Macbeth in particular. Duncan asks if this return to the fray dismayed them:

Yes;

As sparrows eagles, or hare the lion.

If I say sooth, I must report they were

As cannons overcharg'd with double cracks;

So they

Doubly redoubled strokes upon the foe...

We can imagine the mocking voice of the Captain as he delivers the first two lines, which of course emphasise the bravery and courage of Banquo and Macbeth in response to this new threat. Comparing them and their response to cannons again gives the Captain another opportunity to reinforce their skill in battle and their valour, as, undeterred by the fresh assault, they were able to return every blow with "Doubly redoubled strokes" upon the enemy.

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