Macbeth Act I scene 4: Identify literary devices and explain how the literary device is used in these words?Give the number of the lines in brackets.

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

"There's no art to find the mind's construction in the face: He was a gentleman on whom I built an absolute trust" (12-15).  In this quote, Duncan uses a building metaphor.  Using the comparison of "construction," Duncan relates knowing the mind of a man to being able to read his face.  He speaks of building trust, but the reality is that Duncan speaks of a man who betrayed him.   He could not rely on outward appearance alone.

"I have begun to plant thee, and will labour to make thee full of growing" (28-29).  Duncan uses a planting metaphor to describe the ways that he will encourage and help his kinsmen be successful.  The metaphor also extends to how Banquo will grow in Duncan's heart.  Banquo responds, still buying into Duncan's comparison, that "the harvest is your own" (34).  The idea of harvest, crops, and planting suggests growth and development, emotionally and socially for Banquo as well as Duncan.

Macbeth also joins in with metaphor of his own as he compares the Prince of Cumberland to a "step on which I must fall down, or else o'er leap" (48-49).  This comparison reveals that Macbeth sees the prince as an obstacle which must be overcome, foreshadowing Macbeth's ambitious desire to reach the throne. 

Personification also occurs in lines 50-52, as Macbeth commands the stars to "hide your fires," so they would not see his "black and deep desires."  Macbeth's address to the stars reveals his true intent, in an aside to the audience.  The stars also symbolize fate.



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