What are some literary devices in Macbeth, act 5, scene 1?

Some literary devices in act 5, scene 1 of Macbeth include oxymoron and repetition, both of which are used by Shakespeare to show that Lady Macbeth is in the grip of mental illness.

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As the other educators have shown, there are lots of literary devices in this scene. However, I would add that there are several other devices that are all used to emphasize the mental state of Lady Macbeth—specifically, how she is deeply disturbed and affected by recent events.

First of all, the Doctor uses an oxymoron when he is observing Lady Macbeth. This happens when he says “slumbery agitation.” If we think about the connotations of these two words, we see that they conflict and are contradictory. “Slumbery,” for instance, makes you think of peace and stillness. This is the natural state when you are asleep. However, “agitation” suggests movement, a movement that is linked to feeling stressed or under pressure. The effect of this is to emphasize Lady Macbeth’s unnatural state of being. Like an oxymoron, she is behaving in a way that is conflicting and contradictory.

Another device worth noting is Lady Macbeth’s use of repetition. You will find lots of examples of this as...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 843 words.)

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