Another literary device employed in this soliloquy is metonymy. Consider these lines:
Upon my head they placed a fruitless crown
And put a barren scepter in my grip (III.i.65-66)
Metonymy is the use of one idea for something closely associated with it. For example, the saying "The pen is mightier than the sword" has two uses of metonymy. "Pen" is used to represent the written word, which pens are often used to construct, and "sword" represents wars, which are often fought with swords.
So in our example from Macbeth, the crown is an example of metonymy, used to represent his kingship. Scepter, a representation of sovereignty, is also used as an example of metonymy in these lines. He further personifies the scepter, describing it as barren. This indicates Macbeth's agony over acquiring a kingship that he cannot pass on to any heirs. It also is a pun; the outcome of his much-desired goal of kingship has been rather pointless—it has produced no positive outcomes for him thus far.
Also consider the
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